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Tag Archives: investment
Posted: December 26, 2016 at 3:20 pm
A proposed Hard Rock casino that was announced for the Meadowlands Racetrack site on Wednesday carried with it considerable support from North Jersey lawmakers for placing a statewide referendum on the November ballot to clear the way for its construction.
michael karas/staff photographer
From left, Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural and Hard Rock casino operator Jim Allen look on as state Sen. Paul Sarlo speaks on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
Hard Rocks chief executive, Jim Allen, said the $1 billion casino would feature 5,000 slot machines, more than 200 table games, and 12 to 15 restaurants, and that it could open as soon as soon as the summer or early fall of 2016. Meanwhile, former Reebok Chief Executive Paul Fireman has proposed a $4 billion casino, hotel, spa and retail project adjacent to his Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City that he said would take up to four years to complete.
Hard Rock Casino
A rendering of the proposed Hard Rock Meadowlands casino.
Hard Rock Casino
A rendering of the proposed Hard Rock Meadowlands casino.
Neither project could be built unless lawmakers elect to let voters decide whether to end Atlantic Citys nearly four-decade-old casino monopoly and thereby allow casinos to be built in North Jersey to compete with gambling palaces in Pennsylvania and New York State. But Sweeney a Gloucester County Democrat whose backing of a statewide referendum would be crucial last month questioned whether it would be wiser to postpone a vote to allow North Jersey casinos until November 2016 based on an expected low turnout this fall.
The unveiling of plans for a Meadowlands casino on Wednesday came with only weeks to spare before time runs out on starting the process of approving a question for the Nov. 3 ballot. Nearly a dozen North Jersey elected officials who attended the Hard Rock announcement insisted in impassioned speeches that the vote should happen this year. Sweeney did not attend, and a spokesman declined to comment.
Allen and the tracks operator, Jeff Gural, reiterated that some of the tax revenues from the new casino would aid the economic recovery of Atlantic City, where a four of 12 casinos have closed in the last 18 months. Allen added that because Hard Rock has sites in 64 countries, a Hard Rock Meadowlands casino complete with a New Jersey Music Hall of Fame would attract many of the millions of foreign tourists who visit Manhattan annually.
The announcement that an estimated 2,360 jobs would be created during construction drew cheers from laborers who attended the press conference at the tracks Victory Sports Bar. The casino also would create 5,000 permanent jobs, officials said.
This is not a fight between North Jersey and South Jersey, Gural said. Were fighting New York and Pennsylvania we need to bring back the people in northern New Jersey who now travel to those casinos.
Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, D-Essex, said Sweeney would need to be won over and that the ballot question would need to be drafted in the next 30 days.
I dont understand why we would wait another year, or two years New Jersey has a revenue problem, said Jim Kirkos, the president of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce. Kirkos has backed new development including a casino at the Meadowlands Sports Complex since 2010.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Secaucus; state Sens. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck and Ray Lesniak, D-Essex; and Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco were among the elected officials who endorsed the Hard Rock plan on Wednesday.
We will work together that this moves ahead the Meadowlands is the place for a casino in North Jersey, Weinberg said to applause from the crowd.
Weinberg said she would support building only one North Jersey casino, at the Meadowlands, while Sarlo and Lesniak support two North Jersey casinos and Caputo is backing up to three casinos in Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties.
But all of the politicians said they would be able to compromise on a plan to bring the issue to voters in November.
Im concerned that if we dont do it now, it will never get done, Lesniak said.
Gural said he met with the owners of the Giants and Jets several months ago and does not expect the NFL teams to oppose a Meadowlands casino. Gural also told the teams that, if a casino is built, he would pay to have the old grandstand adjacent to MetLife Stadium demolished and that the teams could then use that property for additional parking.
The new facility would be built to the left side of the main entrance of the racetracks new $100 million grandstand, which included a 16 percent equity stake by Hard Rock. Allen said the two buildings eventually would be connected.
Gural estimated that the state could collect $400 million in tax revenues at a rate of 55 percent almost double what the entire Atlantic City casino industry pays at its 8 percent rate if no more than two casino licenses are issued.
This was a show of force today, because everyone recognizes that this is the year to put it on the ballot, said Gural, who added that he and Allen may spend $10 million to $20 million on advertising this summer and fall to try to get a referendum passed. Gural estimated that it would cost three times as much to mount a similar campaign in 2016, a presidential election year when advertising would be more expensive.
I dont think that [Sweeney] wants to position himself as being the only obstacle to a project of this magnitude, Gural said.
The tax rate at the proposed 20-acre Jersey City casino complex likely would be far lower than at the Meadowlands, due to the cost of the investment and the greater number of permanent jobs that would be created at the Hudson County facility that like the private Liberty National Golf Club would cater to a highly affluent clientele.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Blog: northjersey.com/brennan
Posted: October 25, 2016 at 7:35 am
This article is about the one-way manned trip to Mars proposed for 2026. For the first Soviet spacecraft for Mars, see Mars 1. For other uses, see Mars 1 (disambiguation).
Mars One is an organization based in the Netherlands that has proposed to land the first humans on Mars and establish a permanent human colony there by 2026. The private spaceflight project is led by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, who announced the Mars One project in May 2012. The project’s schedule, technical and financial feasibility, and ethics, have been criticized by scientists, engineers and those in the aerospace industry.
Mars One’s original concept included launching a robotic lander and orbiter as early as 2016 to be followed by a human crew of four in 2022. Organizers plan for the crew to be selected from applicants who paid an administrative fee, to become the first permanent residents of Mars with no plan of returning to Earth. Partial funding options, which have yet to be realized, include a proposed reality television program documenting the journey. In February 2015, the primary contractors on the initial pre-Phase A contracts had completed all studies paid for by Mars One at that time. The current state of the Mission Plan Deliverables (either in the form of Studies or actual Hardware) will be tracked in Table 2 in the Technology section.
The Mars One organization is the controlling stockholder of the for-profit Interplanetary Media Group.
The concept for Mars One began in 2011 with discussions between the two founders, Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders.
The Mars One project has no connection with Inspiration Mars, a similarly-timed project to send a married couple on a Mars flyby and return them to Earth over a period of 500 days.
Mars One publicly announced the concept in May 2012 for a one-way trip to Mars, with the intention of an initial robotic precursor mission in 2020 and transporting the first human colonists to Mars in 2024. In a 2015 debate, Bas Lansdrop clarified that “were not going to do, I think, the current design of the mission” and “Mars One’s goal is not to send humans to Mars in 2027 with a $6 billion budget and 14 launches. Our goal is to send humans to Mars, period.” According to Mars One’s website, “It is Mars One’s goal to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.”
In December 2013, Mars One announced its concept of a robotic precursor mission in 2018, two years later than had been conceptually planned in the 2012 announcements. The robotic lander would be “built by Lockheed Martin based on the design used for NASA’s Phoenix and InSight missions, as well as a communications orbiter built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.” In February 2015, Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology confirmed that contracts on the initial study phase begun in late 2013 had run out and additional contracts had not been received for further progress on the robotic missions. Plans have been disclosed to raise the US$200 million or more needed to support the initial robotic mission, but some critics do not find the economic plans to raise money from private investors and exclusive broadcasting rights to be sufficient to support the initial, or follow-on, mission(s).
Mars One selected a second-round pool of astronaut candidates in 2013 of 1058 people”586 men and 472 women from 107 countries”from a larger number of 202,586 who initially showed interest on the Mars One website, although this number is heavily disputed. Former Mars One candidate Dr. Joseph Roche claims the number of initial applicants was only 2,761, which Mars One later conceded via YouTube video.
Mars One announced a partnership with Uwingu on 3 March 2014, stating that the program would use Uwingu’s map of Mars in all of their planned missions.Kristian von Bengtson began work on Simulation Mars Home for crew on 24 March 2014.
The second-round pool was whittled down to 705 candidates (418 men and 287 women) in the beginning of May 2014. 353 were removed due to personal considerations. After the medical physical requirement, which was similar to a normal FAA exam plus EKG, due either to financial, health or access reasons, only 660 candidates remained. Notably, some applicants were notified of life-threatening conditions such as early-stage cancer and were able to immediately begin treatment. These selected persons will then begin the interview process following which several teams of two men and two women will be compiled. The teams will then begin training full-time for a potential future mission to Mars, while individuals and teams may be selected out during training if they are not deemed suitable for the mission.
On June 2, 2014, Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP) announced it has gained exclusive access to Mars One.
On June 30, 2014, it was made public that Mars One seeks financial investment through a bidding process to send company experiments to Mars. The experiment slots will go to the highest bidder and will include company-related ads, and the opportunity to have the company name on the robotic lander that is proposed to carry the experiments to Mars in 2018.
Mars One selected a third-round pool of astronaut candidates in 2015 of 100 people “50 men and 50 women who successfully passed the second round. The candidates come from all around the world, namely 39 from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania”.
In a video posted on 19 of March 2015, Lansdorp said that because of delays in the robotic precursor mission, the first crew will not set down on Mars until 2027. In August 2015, Lansdorp reiterated that their 12-year plan for landing humans on Mars by 2027 is subject to constant improvement and updates.
The Space Review reported in October 2016 that while Mars One was “successful in generating a tremendous amount of publicity as well as enormous excitement about Mars, … its proposal lacked substance both in mission architecture and in workable funding mechanisms. As such, it has faded from the public consciousness.”
According to their schedule as of March 2015, the first crew of four astronauts would arrive on Mars in 2027, after a seven-month journey from Earth. Additional teams would join the settlement every two years, with the intention that by 2035 there would be over twenty people living and working on Mars. The astronaut selection process began on 22 April 2013.
As of July 2015[update], the fourth round astronaut selection process, planned for Sept 2016, by which Mars One will choose six teams of four out of the 100 people selected in the third round, was announced.
In December 2013, mission concept studies for an unmanned Mars mission were contracted with Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology for a demonstration mission to be launched in 2017 and land on Mars in 2018. It would be based on the design of the successful 2007 NASA Phoenix lander, and provide proof of concept for a subset of the key technologies for a later permanent human settlement on Mars. Upon submission of Lockheed Martin’s Proposal Information Package, Mars One released a Request for Proposals for the various payloads on the lander. The total payload mass of 44kg is divided among the seven payloads as follows:
In 2022, an unmanned rover will be launched to Mars in order to pick a landing site for the 2027 Mars One landing and a site for the Mars One colony. At the same time, a communication satellite will be launched, enabling continuous communication with the Mars One colony.
In 2024, the 6 cargo missions will be launched in close succession, consisting of two living units, two life-support units, and two supply units.
A spacecraft containing four astronauts will be launched from Earth to meet a Transit vehicle bound for Mars.
In 2027, the landing module will land on Mars, containing four astronauts. They will be met by the rover launched in 2020, and taken to the Mars One colony.
The application was available from 22 April 2013 to 31 August 2013. This first application consists of applicants general information, a motivational letter, a rsum and a video. More than 200,000 people expressed interest, so Mars One plans to hold several other application periods in the future.
By 9 September 2013, 4,227 applicants had paid their registration fee and submitted public videos in which they made their case for going to Mars in 2023. The application fee varies from US $5 to US $75 (the amount depending on the relative wealth of the applicant’s country).
Distribution of the 1,058 applicants selected for Round 2 according to the academic degree
The results of applicants selected for round 2 were declared on 30 December 2013. A total of 1,058 applicants from 107 countries were selected. The gender split is 586 male (55.4%) and 472 female (44.6%). Among the people that were selected for round 2, 159 have a master’s degree, 347 have bachelor’s degrees and 29 have Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degrees. The majority of the applicants are under 36 and well educated.
Medically cleared candidates were interviewed, and 50 men and 50 women from the total pool of 660 from around the world were selected to move on to the third round of the astronaut selection process:
Although initial plans were for the Mars One selection committee to perform regional interviews around the world, applicants were ultimately remotely interviewed and recorded by Mars One over a relatively short Skype/SparkHire call regarding Martian-related orbital, temp/pressure, geological and historical parameters and the specific elements of the Mars One one-way mission. Dr. Joseph Roche, one of the finalists, has accused the selection process of being based on a point system that is primarily dependent on how much money each individual generated or gave to the Mars One organization, despite many of the round three selectees having not spent any money in the process, apart from the application fee, which varied as a function of each applicant’s country GDP. Lansdorp acknowledges a “gamification” point system but denies that selection is based on money earned. Roche also stated that if paid for interviews, they are asked to donate 75% of the payment to Mars One. This was confirmed by Lansdorp.
It was originally planned that the pool of roughly one thousand successful applicants would be narrowed through regional contests. These events did not take place, and the above-mentioned group of 100 candidates were selected through the remote interview process and selected directly to round 3 in February 2015.
In late 2013, details of the 2015 selection phases had not been agreed upon due to ongoing negotiations with media companies for the rights to televise the selection processes.[needs update]
It was planned that the regional selection may be broadcast on TV and Internet in countries around the world. In each region, plans included 2040 applicants participating in challenges including rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of the remaining candidates, with the aim of demonstrating their suitability to become the first humans on Mars. The audience was to select one winner per region, and the experts could select additional participants, if needed, to continue to the international level.[needs update]
Round three takes place in 2016[needs update], over the course of 5 days. At the start of the event, the candidates organize themselves into groups of 105 men and 5 women of diverse nationalities and age groups.
The Mars One selection committee then sets up group dynamic challenges and provide study materials related to each challenge. This allow them to observe how the candidates work in a group setting and choose candidates for elimination.[needs update]
At the end of each day all the teams except the winner lose members; then they reorganize themselves for the following day. At the end 40 candidates remain.
The remaining 40 candidates are spending nine days in an isolation unit. The candidates are observed closely to examine how they act in situations of prolonged close contact with one another. This test is implemented because, during the journey to Mars and upon arrival, the candidates will spend 24 hours a day with each other and during this time the simplest things may start to become bothersome. It takes a specific team dynamic to be able to handle this, and the goal of this selection round is to find those that are best suited for this challenge.
After the isolation round, 30 candidates are chosen to partake in a Mars Settler Suitability Interview.
The Mars Settler Suitability Interview measures suitability for long duration Space missions and Mars settlement and will last approximately 4 hours. 24 candidates are selected after the interview and will be offered full-time employment with Mars One.
From the previous selection series, six groups of four are to become full-time employees of the Mars One astronaut corps, after which they are to train for the mission. Whole teams and individuals might be deselected during training if they prove not to be suitable for the mission. Six to ten teams of four people are to be selected for seven years of full-time training.
Mars One funding comes from private investment (undisclosed), intellectual property (IP) rights, the sale of future broadcasting rights, and astronaut application fees.
Mars One’s investment of revenues
Concept design studies (78.3%)
Travel expenses (11.6%)
Legal expenses (3.3%)
Website maintenance (2.4%)
Office and other (2.1%)
On January 29, 2013, Mars One announced its initial batch of investors from the Netherlands and South Africa. The value of the investment remains undisclosed.
Mars One initially estimated a one-way trip, excluding the cost of maintaining four astronauts on Mars until they die, at 6 billion USD. Lansdorp has declined questions regarding the cost estimate because he believes “it would be very stupid for us to give the prices that have been quoted per component”. For comparison, an “austere” manned Mars mission (including a temporary stay followed by a return of the astronauts) proposed by NASA in 2009 had a projected cost of $100 billion USD after an 18-year program, including a NASA-required return component.
Mars One, the not-for-profit foundation, is the controlling stockholder of the for-profit Interplanetary Media Group. A proposed global “reality-TV” media event was intended to provide funds to finance the expedition, however, no such reality TV show has emerged and no contracts have been signed. The astronaut selection process (with some public participation) was to be televised and continue on through the first years of living on Mars.
Discussions between Endemol, producers of the Big Brother series, and Mars One ended with Endemol subsidiary Darlow Smithson Productions issuing a statement in February 2015 that they “were unable to reach agreement on the details of the contract” and that the company was “no longer involved in the project.” Lansdorp updated plans to no longer include live broadcasts from Mars but instead rely on a documentary-style production, adding “Just like the Olympics, we watch highlights, we don’t watch things that athletes do when they’re not performing their abilities.”
On 31 August 2012, company officials announced that funding from its first sponsors had been received. Corporate sponsorship money will be used mostly to fund the conceptual design studies provided by the aerospace suppliers.
Since the official announcement of their conversion to a Stichting, Mars One has been accepting one-time and regular monthly donations through their website. As of 4 July 2016, Mars One had received $928,888 in donations and merchandise sales. The recent donation update adds the Indiegogo campaign ($313,744) to the private donation and merchandise total.
Over three quarters of the investment is in concept design studies. Mars One states that “income from donations and merchandise have not been used to pay salaries”. To date, no financial records have been released for public viewing.
On 10 December 2013, Mars One set up a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to fund their 2018 demonstration mission. The 2018 mission includes a lander and communications satellite, and aims to prove several mission critical technologies in addition to launch and landing. The campaign goal was to raise $400,000 USD by 25 January 2014. Since the ending date was drawing near, they decided to extend the ending date to 9 February 2014. By the end of the campaign, they had received $313,744 in funds. Indiegogo will receive 9% ($28,237) of the $313,744 for the campaign failing to achieve its goal.
Mars One has identified at least one potential supplier for each component of the mission. The major components are planned to be acquired from proven suppliers. As of May 2013[update], Mars One has a contract with only one company, Paragon Space Development Corporation, for a preliminary life support study.
The Falcon Heavy from SpaceX was the notional launcher in the early Mars One conceptual plan, which included the notional use of SpaceX hardware for the lander and crew habitat, but, as of May 2013, SpaceX had not yet been contracted to supply mission hardware, and SpaceX has stated that it did “not currently have a relationship with Mars One.” By March 2014, SpaceX indicated that they had been contacted by Mars One, and were in discussions, but that accommodating Mars One requirements would require some additional work and that such work was not a part of the current focus of SpaceX.
A manned interplanetary spacecraft, which would transport the crew to Mars, would be assembled in low Earth orbit and comprise two propellant modules: a Transit Living Module (discarded just before arrival at Mars) and a lander (see “Human Lander” below).
A potential supplier for the Transit living module as of November 2012[update] was Thales Alenia Space.[non-primary source needed]
Contract has been signed with Lockheed Martin to build the Demo Lander with the same designs as the Phoenix lander that went to Mars.
In December 2013 Mars One awarded a contract to Surrey Satellite Technology for a study of the satellite technology required to provide 24/7 communication between Earth and the Mars base. Mars One proposed at least two satellites, one in areostationary orbit above Mars and a second at the Earth Sun L4 or L5 point to relay the signal when Mars blocks the areosynchronous satellite from line of sight to Earth. It is possible that a third satellite will be required to relay the signal on the rare occasions when the Sun blocks the first relay satellite from line of sight with Earth.
An early notional Mars One lander was shown in concept art as a 5 meters (16ft)-diameter variant of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. SpaceX has not agreed for their technoogy to be used by the Mars One project.
The rover would be unpressurized and support travel distances of 80km (50 miles). A potential supplier for the rover as of November 2012[update] was Astrobotic Technology.[non-primary source needed]
The Mars suit would be flexible to allow the settlers to work with both cumbersome construction materials and sophisticated machinery when they are outside the habitat while protecting them from the cold, low pressure and noxious gases of the Martian atmosphere. The likely supplier of the suits is ILC Dover. On 12 March 2013, Paragon Space Development Corporation was contracted to develop concepts for life support and the Mars Surface Exploration Spacesuit System. The Paragon Space Development Corporation study was stated to be finished late summer 2013; Mars One released the results of this (ECLSS portion only) study to the public in June 2015. The Mars suit study portion of the original contract has just entered ITAR review, with a publicly accessible copy available once passed through review.
Mars One has received a variety of criticism, mostly relating to medical, technical and financial feasibility. There are also unverified claims that Mars One is a scam designed to take as much money as possible from donors, including reality show contestants. Many have criticized the project’s US$6 billion budget as being too low to successfully transport humans to Mars, to the point of being delusional. A similar project study by NASA estimated the cost of such a feat at US$100 billion, although that included transporting the astronauts back to Earth. Objections have also been raised regarding the reality TV project associated with the expedition. Given the transient nature of most reality TV ventures, many believe that as viewership declines, funding could significantly decrease, thereby harming the entire expedition. Further, TV reality show contestants have reported that they were ranked based on their donations and funds raised.
John Logsdon, a space policy expert at George Washington University, criticized the program, saying it appears to be a scam and not “a credible proposition”.
Chris Welch, director of Masters Programs at the International Space University, has said “Even ignoring the potential mismatch between the project income and its costs and questions about its longer-term viability, the Mars One proposal does not demonstrate a sufficiently deep understanding of the problems to give real confidence that the project would be able to meet its very ambitious schedule.”
Gerard ‘t Hooft, theoretical physicist and ambassador to Mars One, has stated that he thought both their proposed schedule and budget were off by a factor of ten. He said he still supported the project’s overall goals.
A space logistics analysis conducted by PhD candidates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed that the most optimistic of scenarios would require 15 Falcon Heavy launches that would cost approximately $4.5 billion. They concluded that the reliability of Environmental Control and Life Support systems (ECLS), the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), and in situ resource utilization (ISRU) would have to be improved. Additionally, they determined that if the costs of launch were also lowered dramatically, together this would help to reduce the mass and cost of Mars settlement architecture. The environmental system would result in failure to be able to support human life in 68 days if fire safety standards on over-oxygenation were followed, due to excessive use of nitrogen supplies that would not then be able to be used to compensate leakage of air out of the habitat, leading to a resultant loss in pressurization, ending with pressures too low to support human life. Lansdorp replied that although he has not read all the research, supplier Lockheed Martin says that the technologies were viable.
Another serious concern uncovered in the research conducted by MIT is replacement parts. The PhD candidates estimated the need for spare parts in a Mars colony based on the failure rates of parts on the ISS. They determined that a resupply mission every two years would be necessary unless a large space in the initial launch were to be reserved for extra materials. Lansdorp commented on this saying, “They are correct. The major challenge of Mars One is keeping everything up and running. We don’t believe what we have designed is the best solution. It’s a good solution.”
In March 2015, one of the Mars One finalists, Joseph Roche, stated to media outlets that he believes the mission to be a scam. Roche holds doctorate degrees in physics and astrophysics, and shared many of his concerns and criticisms of the mission. These claims include that the organization lied about the number of applicants, stating that 200,000 individuals applied versus Roche’s claim of 2,761, and that many of the applicants had paid to be put on the list. Furthermore, Roche claimed that Mars One is asking finalists for donations from any money earned from guest appearances (which would amount to a minimal portion of the estimated $6 billion required for the mission). Finally, despite being one of 100 finalists, Roche himself has never spoken to any Mars One employee or representative in person, and instead of psychological or psychometric testing as is normal for astronaut candidates (especially for a lengthy, one-way mission), his interview process consisted of a 10-minute Skype conversation.
Robert Zubrin, advocate for manned Martian exploration, said “I don’t think the business plan closes it. We’re going to go to Mars, we need a billion dollars, and we’re going to make up the revenue with advertising and media rights and so on. You might be able to make up some of the money that way, but I don’t think that anyone who is interested in making money is going to invest on that basis invest in this really risky proposition, and if you’re lucky you’ll break even? That doesn’t fly.” Despite his criticisms, Zubrin became an adviser to Mars One on 10 October 2013.
Canadian former astronaut Julie Payette said during the opening speech for an International Civil Aviation Organization conference that she does not think Mars One “is sending anybody anywhere”.
In January 2014, German former astronaut Ulrich Walter strongly criticized the project for ethical reasons. Speaking with Tagesspiegel, he estimated the probability of reaching Mars alive at only 30%, and that of surviving there more than three months at less than 20%. He said, “They make their money with that [TV] show. They don’t care what happens to those people in space… If my tax money were used for such a mission, I would organize a protest.”
Space tourist Richard Garriott stated in response to Mars One, “Many have interesting viable starting plans. Few raise the money to be able to pull it off.”
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin said in an interview that he wants to see humans on Mars by 2035, but he does not think Mars One will be the first to achieve it.
Wired magazine gave it a plausibility score of 2 out of 10 as part of their 2012 Most Audacious Private Space Exploration Plans.
The Daily Mail enumerated reasons why the project will never happen, calling the project “foolish”. The project lacks current funding as well as sources for future funding. The organization has no spacecraft or rocket in development or any contracts in place with companies that could provide a spacecraft or rocket. While plans point to SpaceX for both resources, the company has no contracts with Mars One in an industry that typically plans contracts decades in advance. The organization has not shared any research into the effects of microgravity on crews in flight or reduced gravity on the Mars surface. The organization has yet to provide plans or even study how crews might survive dust storms, supply challenges or the increased radiation on Mars.
Read the original here:
Mars One – Wikipedia
Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:19 am
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The prize is a longer and healthier life, coupled with what could become the most important and exponentially lucrative investment youve ever made.
Aging: An Impossible Problem. Or the Ultimate Opportunity?
We all consider aging to be lifes ultimate reality. On our birthdays, our friends often joke with us that its better than the alternative! Thats because, all our lives (and all throughout human history up to this point), there has been no alternative to aging and the symptoms and diseases of aging. But you and I are fortunate to be living at the precise moment in history when mankind is experiencing a veritable explosion of science and technology. Our entire world is changing virtually every day due to exciting, breakthrough innovations in every industry from telecommunications to travel from computers to cars from farming to pharmaceuticals and everything in between. But nothing is more exciting, in my view, than the technological advances that have already been made (and continue to be made nearly every day) in the rapidly growing science of anti-aging. What Does Anti-Aging Really Mean? First of all, dont let the term anti-aging (as its used and abused today) fool you. The science-based anti-aging industry emerging today is qualitatively different. It targets products that will substantially extend lifespan as well as make that lifespan healthier even for those with all the right lifestyle habits including eating right and exercising regulary with these Muscle Building Workouts. Today anti-aging is already a multi-billion dollar business even though most of the products have little or no basis in medical science. Many promoters mislead, exaggerate and make false claims to sell to a market eager to hang on to their youth. The anti-aging were talking about isnt about snake oil; its about the emerging (and serious) field of life-extension medicine. Anti-aging science is quickly coming of age and being taken very seriously by esteemed universities, respected research institutions, and giant pharmaceutical companies. Breakthroughs in Life Extension Are Already Here In fact, some new inventions and innovations in anti-aging medicine have already proven themselves behind the closed doors of our nations top research and testing agencies. Theyre already here. They just havent been released yet to the general public. Thankfully, however, many of these breakthroughs dont take as much time as do other health care innovations, such as new drugs. And because of the rapidly approaching urgency and the looming, overwhelming demand for anti-aging innovations, were soon going to see wave after wave of anti-aging products getting introduced to a TRILLION-DOLLAR world market of people who are literally dying to hold onto their health, youth, beauty and vitality. Its what we all want, actually. And now, thanks to the unique research and marketing strategy weve developed here at Maximum Life Foundation, you can learn about the development and distribution of the very innovations that will one day very soon benefit you directly and help you lead a longer, healthier, wealthier and happier life. SAP Training – Training and certification in over 30 different SAP career paths.
This white paper will take you on a journey into the exciting world of anti-aging science and show you the virtually unlimited opportunities that await savvy people like you who get on board the train to the future and do it now.
Welcome aboard. David A. Kekich President, Maximum Life Foundation January 2010
One final note before we begin: I want you to know that nearly all of my personal financial return from my activities goes to The Maximum Life Foundation. In other words, Im in this for the money but not the way you think.
Special Report on Life Extension Technology By David A. Kekich
AGING: A Growing Problem Becomes an Enormous Opportunity
Its happening all over the world
Imagine the potential profit if you participated in even one of these! And our research is uncovering dozens of similar opportunities. Its no accident venture capitalists and major medical companies are investing billions of dollars annually in research leading toward the treatment and cure of incurable diseases. Why? They readily recognize the upside to such investment. Today, the biggest returns both to investors and to individuals who want to live longer, healthier, and therefore more productive lives will come in the field of anti-aging medicine. And heres why: Back in the year 2000, the number of Americans (for example) aged 65 or older reached an estimated 35 million and accounted for almost 13 percent of the total U.S. population. The rapidly aging U.S. population is very significant especially when you consider the number of older Americans has increased more than ten-fold since the turn of the last century. This trend is mirrored in other developed countries. And, its projected to accelerate even faster over the next 30 years. This is both a problem and an opportunity. Its a problem because the diseases associated with aging will put a tremendous burden on our health-care system (along with the younger taxpayers who will have to foot the bill).
The table below lists just a few of the adverse health events that our older population is now experiencing
Health events that increase with aging
These aging-dependent chronic diseases and conditions are now the most common forms of illness in the United States. Heart disease and stroke alone account for almost 40% of all deaths.
Consider this chart
Altogether, the groups of degenerative diseases we link to aging are directly responsible for the deaths for roughly 75% of all deaths in the United States.
Whats more, the list of diseases above has contributed to a quadrupling of health care expenditures per person in the U.S., rising from $1,067 in 1980 to $4,358 in 1999.
By 2010, those expenditures are expected to double again. Total national health expenditures are projected to equal $2.6 trillion and reach 15.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product by 2010, up from 13 percent in 1999.
Its pure demographics. You see, the burgeoning number of baby boomers in our society will begin to turn 65 in 2011. And by 2030, the proportion of the population 65 or older will be one in five or 70 million U.S. citizens.
In the United States, the population 80 and older is currently 9.2 million (3.35 percent of the U.S. population). This age segment is projected to grow to 14.9 million (4.4 percent of population) by the year 2025 and to 31.6 million (7.82 percent of population) by the year 2050.
In other industrialized countries around the world, the percentage of the population age 65 or older is even higher than in the U.S. The percentage of population over 65 in the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan is 24%, 44% and 34% higher than in the United States, respectively.
This is truly a growing problem, worldwide. And it cries out for a solution.
Fortunately, timing is on our side because science MAY NOW HAVE solutions to some of the age-related diseases listed above.
Happily, the catastrophic effects of such a huge percentage of our population getting old and getting sick all at the same time can now be virtually eliminated IF the science of anti-aging proceeds on the fast track and quickly develops the treatments and cures to life-threatening (and life-shortening) diseases we now passively accept.
And thats what we at the Maximum Life Foundation are all about: Helping to get anti-aging science into the mainstream before its too late for you.
Whether youre young or old, herein lays one of the major investment opportunities of the 21st century.
ANTI-AGING MEDICINE: An Emerging Solution
Think about it
If the illnesses and deaths weve been talking about were preventable, shouldnt we stop them if we can?
Let me put it another way: If a loved one (or yourself) had a major medical condition such as cancer, heart disease or suffered a stroke., wouldnt you ask that they (or you) receive the very best medical care for those conditions?
If there was a treatment that could reverse Alzheimers, Parkinsons, osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis or diabetes who in their right mind would turn it down?
What ties all these diseases together is the underlying processes of aging.
But now, science is gradually coming to the realization that aging itself could be classified as a disease. Why? Because its not necessarily normal or inevitable for the bodys vital organs to stop functioning properly. Scientists now know that our cells could live and grow in the same healthy manner as when we were in our 20s!
Am I just blowing smoke?
Heres the hard-core evidence that gives everyone involved in anti-aging science so much cause for optimism
How the EXPLOSION of Scientific Progress Is Revolutionizing Our Lives
To properly understand what Im about to share with you, you need to know that the pace of scientific advancements today far outstrips what you and I have been accustomed to during our lifetime.
Whereas science used to proceed at a snails pace, thats not the case anymore. Now its approaching the speed of light!
Its all because several sciences and technologies are finally coming together and working synergistically on the problems that face mankind.
For instance, medical researchers are now able to use supercomputers to speed up experiments that used to take years. The key? Theyre using a new technology known as bioinformatics.
Bioinformatics is a computer-assisted data management discipline that assists in accumulating, analyzing and representing biological processes. Emerging in the 1990s, this field is accelerating the drug discovery and development process through in vitro (in test tubes) and in vivo (in animals or humans) testing processes. Now theyre adding in silico (computer simulations) to turbo charge anti-aging science.
The major task of bioinformatics is utilizing the power of supercomputers to convert the complexity of the genetic codes of the human genome into useful information and knowledge that can be harnessed to understand the aging process and its attendant diseases.
The result? Faster and faster progress in the anti-aging sciences
Its not a surprise. In the modern era, our knowledge has been advancing by quantum leaps compared to most of human history. For instance, scientific knowledge doubled from the year 1 A.D. to 1500 A.D. But by 1967, it doubled five more times… and each time, faster than before.
And several experts estimate that today, biotech knowledge doubles about every 48 months. Some computer scientists project that by 2010, scientific knowledge in general will double every 100 days!
Part of the reason? As I said, supercomputers, like the kind now being used in bioinformatics. These computers can do experiments in 15 seconds that used to take years. Its no wonder were gaining on the aging problem so fast!
Heres another anti-aging advance: Newly developed research tools called gene chips can do tissue studies in hours or even minutes that used to take years of animal studies. These gene chips are actually laboratories on a chip. Theyre simply amazing.
But perhaps the most profound observation is the rate of change itself is accelerating. This means the past is not a reliable guide to the future. The 20th century was not 100 years of progress at todays rate but, rather, was equivalent to about 20 years, because weve been speeding up to current rates of change. And, well make another 20 years of progress at the year 2000 rate, equivalent to that of the entire 20th century, by 2014. Then well do it again by 2021.
Because of this exponential growth, the 21st century will equal 20,000 years of progress at todays rate of progress 1,000 times greater than what we witnessed in the 20th century, which in itself was no slouch for change.
And youre probably aware that the power of technology per dollar doubles every 12 months. This means our tools could be 1,000 times more powerful in just 10 years and a billion times more powerful by 2035.
On top of that, scientists just launched an emerging discipline known as nanomedicine that will revolutionize cell repair.
In a nutshell, nanomedicine, the medical application of nanotechnology, could eventually build or repair almost every cell in the body, from the bottom up, atom-by-atom. It promises to give us complete control of matter and a very efficient way to cure aging damage, injuries and diseases.
More Anti-Aging Breakthroughs
For your information, here are some of the anti-aging and life-extension breakthroughs that took place just in the last few years
That means someday, we could completely understand how the human body works at the most basic level. This will greatly speed up the time it takes to develop new treatments for all diseases.
By understanding how eating less calories works to extend life in something like yeast, scientists can use this information to figure out the same pathway in humans. Then, we could develop drugs to do the same thing. In fact, Dr. Guarente co-founded Elixir Pharmaceuticals to do just that, and now, several caloric restriction mimetics have been discovered.
This is the first time drugs dramatically extended the lifespan of a complex form of life. This could perhaps result in a pill that would greatly extend your lifespan and your healthspan.
Once again, turning the right genes on or off can extend lifespan.
Stem cell research could eventually lead to a cell-by-cell replacement of the human body, substituting old cells with new young cells.
With good gene therapy techniques, the same type of thing might add about 30 years to our lives. Thats not an exaggeration.
Resveratrol is now available as a supplement for human consumption.
Recently, a group at the University of Wisconsin developed a technique to locate many genes that are involved in the aging process in mice. This may soon allow us to control the aging process itself.
At Sierra Sciences, a biotechnology company, researchers have been working on shutting off the cellular aging clock, the telomere.
There are far too many examples to list them all.
What does all this research mean?
Very simply this: With todays astonishing pace of scientific progress, well most likely develop technologies in the next 5 to 10 years in the lab that could eventually slow aging to a crawl.
Maybe halt it.
Maybe even reverse it by 2029.
And even before these technologies are translated to humans, they will be worth BILLIONS.
Where the Money Will Be Made in Life Extension Technology
Aside from the sheer humanitarian benefits of anti-aging science and the promise of a disease-free, healthy and happy society, theres also a lot of money to be made in this sector for those who are savvy enough to see the trend and invest early.
Posted: June 19, 2016 at 2:37 pm
“California Cloning: A Dialogue on State Regulation” was convened October 12, 2001, by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Its purpose was to bring together experts from the fields of science, religion, ethics, and law to discuss how the state of California should proceed in regulating human cloning and stem cell research.
A framework for discussing the issue was provided by Center Director of Biotechnology and Health Care Ethics Margaret McLean, who also serves on the California State Advisory Committee on Human Cloning. In 1997, the California legislature declared a “five year moratorium on cloning of an entire human being” and requested that “a panel of representatives from the fields of medicine, religion, biotechnology, genetics, law, bioethics and the general public” be established to evaluate the “medical, ethical and social implications” of human cloning (SB 1344). This 12-member Advisory Committee on Human Cloning convened five public meetings, each focusing on a particular aspect of human cloning: e.g., reproductive cloning, and cloning technology and stem cells. The committee is drafting a report to the legislature that is due on December 31, 2001. The report will discuss the science of cloning, and the ethical and legal considerations of applications of cloning technology. It will also set out recommendations to the legislature regarding regulation of human cloning. The legislature plans to take up this discussion after January. The moratorium expires the end of 2002.
What should the state do at that point? More than 80 invited guests came to SCU for “California Cloning” to engage in a dialogue on that question. These included scientists, theologians, businesspeople from the biotechnology industry, bioethicists, legal scholars, representatives of non-profits, and SCU faculty. Keynote Speaker Ursula Goodenough, professor of biology at Washington University and author of Genetics, set the issues in context with her talk, “A Religious Naturalist Thinks About Bioethics.” Four panels addressed the specific scientific, religious, ethical, and legal implications of human reproductive cloning and stem cell research. This document gives a brief summary of the issues as they were raised by the four panels.
Science and Biotechnology Perspectives
Thomas Okarma, CEO of Geron Corp., launched this panel with an overview of regenerative medicine and distinguished between reproductive cloning and human embryonic stem cell research. He helped the audience understand the science behind the medical potential of embryonic stem cell research, with an explanation of the procedures for creating stem cell lines and the relationship of this field to telomere biology and genetics. No brief summary could do justice to the science. The reader is referred to the report of the National Bioethics Advisory Committee (http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/nbac/stemcell.pdf) for a good introduction.
Responding to Okarma, were J. William Langston, president of the Parkinsons Institute, and Phyllis Gardner, associate professor of medicine and former dean for medical education at Stanford University. Both discussed the implications of the presidents recent restrictions on stem cell research for the non-profit sector. Langston compared the current regulatory environment to the Reagan era ban on fetal cell research, which he believed was a serious setback for Parkinsons research. He also pointed out that stem cell research was only being proposed using the thousands of embryos that were already being created in the process of fertility treatments. These would ultimately be disposed of in any event, he said, arguing that it would be better to allow them to serve some function rather than be destroyed. President Bush has confined federally-funded research to the 64 existing stem cell lines, far too few in Langstons view. In addition, Langston opposed bans on government funding for stem cell research because of the opportunities for public review afforded by the process of securing government grants.
Gardner talked about the differences between academic and commercial research, suggesting that both were important for the advancement of science and its application. Since most of the current stem cell lines are in the commercial sector and the president has banned the creation of new lines, she worried that universities would not continue to be centers of research in this important area. That, she argued, would cut out the more serendipitous and sometimes more altruistic approaches of academic research. Also, it might lead to more of the brain drain represented by the recent move of prominent UCSF stem cell researcher Roger Pedersen to Britain. Gardner expressed a hope that the United States would continue to be the “flagship” in stem cell research. Her concerns were echoed later by moderator Allen Hammond, SCU law professor, who urged the state, which has been at the forefront of stem cell research to consider the economic impact of banning such activity. All three panelists commended the decision of the state advisory committee to deal separately with the issues of human cloning and stem cell research.
Two religion panelists, Suzanne Holland and Laurie Zoloth, are co editors of The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate: Science, Ethics and Public Policy (MIT Press, 2001). Holland, assistant professor of Religious and Social Ethics at the University of Puget Sound, began the panel with a discussion of Protestant ideas about the sin of pride and respect for persons and how these apply to human reproductive cloning. Given current safety concerns about cloning, she was in favor of a continuing ban. But ultimately, she argued, cloning should be regulated rather than banned outright. In fact, she suggested, the entire fertility industry requires more regulation. As a basis for such regulation, she proposed assessing the motivation of those who want to use the technology. Those whose motives arise from benevolence–for example, those who want to raise a child but have no other means of bearing a genetically related baby–should be allowed to undergo a cloning procedure. Those whose motives arise more from narcissistic considerations — people who want immortality or novelty — should be prohibited from using the technology. She proposed mandatory counseling and a waiting period as a means of assessing motivation.
Zoloth reached a different conclusion about reproductive cloning based on her reading of Jewish sources. She argued that the availability of such technology would make human life too easily commodified, putting the emphasis more on achieving a copy of the self than on the crucial parental act of creating “a stranger to whom you would give your life.” She put the cloning issue in the context of a system where foster children cannot find homes and where universal health care is not available for babies who have already been born. While Zoloth reported that Jewish ethicists vary considerably in their views about reproductive cloning, there is fairly broad agreement that stem cell research is justified. Among the Jewish traditions she cited were:
The embryo does not have the status of a human person.
There is a commandment to heal.
Great latitude is permitted for learning.
The world is uncompleted and requires human participation to become whole.
Catholic bioethicist Albert Jonsen, one of the deans of the field, gave a historical perspective on the cloning debate, citing a paper by Joshua Lederburg in the 1960s, which challenged his collea
gues to look at the implications of the then-remote possibility. He also traced the development of Catholic views on other new medical technologies. When organ transplantation was first introduced, it was opposed as a violation of the principal, “First, do no harm” and as a mutilation of the human body. Later, the issue was reconceived in terms of charity and concern for others. One of the key questions, Jonsen suggested, is What can we, as a society that promotes religious pluralism, do when we must make public policy on issues where religious traditions may disagree. He argued that beneath the particular teachings of each religion are certain broad themes they share, which might provide a framework for the debate. These include human finitude, human fallibility, human dignity, and compassion.
Lawrence Nelson, adjunct associate professor of philosophy at SCU, opened the ethics panel with a discussion of the moral status of the human embryo. Confining his remarks to viable, extracorporeal embryos (embryos created for fertility treatments that were never implanted), Nelson argued that these beings do have some moral status–albeit it weak–because they are alive and because they are valued to varying degrees by other moral agents. This status does entitle the embryo to some protection. In Nelsons view, the gamete sources whose egg and sperm created these embryos have a unique connection to them and should have exclusive control over their disposition. If the gamete sources agree, Nelson believes the embryos can be used for research if they are treated respectfully. Some manifestations of respect might be:
They are used only if the goal of the research cannot be obtained by other methods.
The embryos have not reached gastrulation (prior to 14 to 18 days of development).
Those who use them avoid considering or treating them as property.
Their destruction is accompanied by some sense of loss or sorrow.
Philosophy Professor Barbara MacKinnon (University of San Francisco), editor of Human Cloning: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy, began by discussing the distinction between reproductive and therapeutic cloning and the slippery slope argument. She distinguished three different forms of this argument and showed that for each, pursuing stem cell research will not inevitably lead to human reproductive cloning. MacKinnon favored a continuing ban on the latter, citing safety concerns. Regarding therapeutic cloning and stem cell research, she criticized consequentialist views such as that anything can be done to reduce human suffering and that certain embryos would perish anyway. However, she noted that non-consequentialist concerns must also be addressed for therapeutic cloning, among them the question of the moral status of the early embryo. She also made a distinction between morality and the law, arguing that not everything that is immoral ought to be prohibited by law, and showed how this position relates to human cloning.
Paul Billings, co-founder of GeneSage, has been involved in crafting an international treaty to ban human reproductive cloning and germ-line genetic engineering. As arguments against human cloning he cited:
There is no right to have a genetically related child.
Cloning is not safe.
Cloning is not medically necessary.
Cloning could not be delivered in an equitable manner.
Billings also believes that the benefits of stem cell therapies have been “wildly oversold.” Currently, he argues, there are no effective treatments coming from this research. He is also concerned about how developing abilities in nuclear transfer technology may have applications in germ-line genetic engineering that we do not want to encourage. As a result, he favors the current go-slow approach of banning the creation of new cell lines until some therapies have been proven effective. At the same time, he believes we must work to better the situation of the poor and marginalized so their access to all therapies is improved.
Member of the State Advisory Committee on Human Cloning Henry “Hank” Greely addressed some of the difficulties in creating a workable regulatory system for human reproductive cloning. First he addressed safety, which, considering the 5 to 10 times greater likelihood of spontaneous abortion in cloned sheep, he argued clearly justifies regulation. The FDA has currently claimed jurisdiction over this technology, but Greely doubted whether the courts would uphold this claim. Given these facts, Greely saw three alternatives for the state of California:
Do nothing; let the federal government take care of it.
Create an FDA equivalent to regulate the safety of the process, an alternative he pointed out for which the state has no experience.
Continue the current ban on the grounds of safety until such time as the procedure is adjudged safe. Next Greely responded to suggestions that the state might regulate by distinguishing between prospective cloners on the basis of their motivation, for example, denying a request to clone a person to provide heart tissue for another person but okaying a request if cloning were the only opportunity a couple might have to conceive a child. Greely found the idea of the state deciding on such basis deeply troubling because it would necessitate “peering into someones soul” in a manner that government is not adept at doing.
The impact of regulation on universities was the focus of Debra Zumwalts presentation. As Stanford University general counsel, Zumwalt talked about the necessity of creating regulations that are clear and simple. Currently, federal regulations on stem cells are unclear, she argued, making it difficult for universities and other institutions to tell if they are in compliance. She believes that regulations should be based on science and good public policy rather than on politics. As a result, she favored overall policy being set by the legislature but details being worked out at the administrative level by regulatory agencies with expertise. Whatever regulations California develops should not be more restrictive than the federal regulations, she warned, or research would be driven out of the state. Like several other speakers, Zumwalt was concerned about federal regulations restricting stem cell research to existing cell lines. That, she feared, would drive all research into private hands. “We must continue to have a public knowledge base,” she said. Also, she praised the inherent safeguards in academic research including peer review, ethics panels, and institutional review boards.
SCU Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good June Carbone looked at the role of California cloning decisions in contributing to the governance of biotechnology. California, she suggested, cannot address these issues alone, and thus might make the most useful contribution by helping to forge a new international moral consensus through public debate. Taking a lesson from U.S. response to recent terrorist attacks, she argued for international consensus based on the alliance of principle and self-interest. Such consensus would need to be enforced both by carrot and stick and should, she said, include a public-private partnership to deal with ethical issues. Applying these ideas to reproductive cloning, she suggested that we think about which alliances would be necessary to prevent or limit the practice. Preventing routine use might be accomplished
by establishing a clear ethical and professional line prohibiting reproductive cloning. Preventing exceptional use (a determined person with sufficient money to find a willing doctor) might not be possible. As far as stem cell research is concerned, Carbone argued that the larger the investment in such research, the bigger the carrot–the more the funder would be able to regulate the process. That, she suggested, argues for a government role in the funding. If the professional community does not respect the ethical line drawn by politicians, and alternative funding is available from either public sources abroad or private sources at home, the U.S. political debate runs the risk of becoming irrelevant.
“California Cloning” was organized by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and co-sponsored by the Bannan Center for Jesuit Education and Christian Values; the Center for Science, Technology, and Society; the SCU School of Law; the High Tech Law Institute; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Community of Science Scholars Initiative; and the law firm of Latham & Watkins.
Posted: March 26, 2016 at 8:44 am
Wage slavery refers to a situation where a person’s livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate. It is a pejorative term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person.
The term wage slavery has been used to criticize exploitation of labour and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops), and the latter as a lack of workers’ self-management, fulfilling job choices, and leisure in an economy. The criticism of social stratification covers a wider range of employment choices bound by the pressures of a hierarchical society to perform otherwise unfulfilling work that deprives humans of their “species character” not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma and status diminution.
Similarities between wage labor and slavery were noted as early as Cicero in Ancient Rome. With the advent of the industrial revolution, thinkers such as Proudhon and Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery in the context of a critique of societal property not intended for active personal use, while Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines. Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North. The United States abolished slavery after the Civil War, but labor union activists found the metaphor useful. According to Lawrence Glickman, in the Gilded Age, “References abounded in the labor press, and it is hard to find a speech by a labor leader without the phrase.”
The introduction of wage labor in 18th century Britain was met with resistance&emdash;giving rise to the principles of syndicalism. Historically, some labor organizations and individual social activists have espoused workers’ self-management or worker cooperatives as possible alternatives to wage labor.
The view that working for wages is akin to slavery dates back to the ancient world.
In 1763, the French journalist Simon Linguet published a description of wage slavery:
The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him … They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market … It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live … It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him … what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune … These men … [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need. … They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?
The view that wage work has substantial similarities with chattel slavery was actively put forward in the late 18th and 19th centuries by defenders of chattel slavery (most notably in the Southern states of the US), and by opponents of capitalism (who were also critics of chattel slavery). Some defenders of slavery, mainly from the Southern slave states argued that Northern workers were “free but in name the slaves of endless toil,” and that their slaves were better off. This contention has been partly corroborated by some modern studies that indicate slaves’ material conditions in the 19th century were “better than what was typically available to free urban laborers at the time.” In this period, Henry David Thoreau wrote that “[i]t is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.”
Some abolitionists in the United States regarded the analogy as spurious. They believed that wage workers were “neither wronged nor oppressed”.Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans argued that the condition of wage workers was different from slavery, as laborers were likely to have the opportunity to work for themselves in the future, achieving self-employment. The abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass initially declared, “now I am my own master”, upon taking a paying job. But later in life, he concluded to the contrary, “experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other”. Douglass went on to speak about these conditions as arising from the unequal bargaining power between the ownership/capitalist class and the non-ownership/laborer class within a compulsory monetary market. “No more crafty and effective devise for defrauding the southern laborers could be adopted than the one that substitutes orders upon shopkeepers for currency in payment of wages. It has the merit of a show of honesty, while it puts the laborer completely at the mercy of the land-owner and the shopkeeper.”.
Self-employment became less common as the artisan tradition slowly disappeared in the later part of the 19th century. In 1869 The New York Times described the system of wage labor as “a system of slavery as absolute if not as degrading as that which lately prevailed at the South”.E. P. Thompson notes that for British workers at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, the “gap in status between a ‘servant,’ a hired wage-laborer subject to the orders and discipline of the master, and an artisan, who might ‘come and go’ as he pleased, was wide enough for men to shed blood rather than allow themselves to be pushed from one side to the other. And, in the value system of the community, those who resisted degradation were in the right.” A “Member of the Builders’ Union” in the 1830s argued that the trade unions “will not only strike for less work, and more wages, but will ultimately abolish wages, become their own masters and work for each other; labor and capital will no longer be separate but will be indissolubly joined together in the hands of workmen and work-women.” This perspective inspired the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of 1834 which had the “two-fold purpose of syndicalist unions the protection of the workers under the existing system and the formation of the nuclei of the future society” when the unions “take over the whole industry of the country.” “Research has shown”, summarises William Lazonick, “that the ‘free-born Englishman’ of the eighteenth century even those who, by force of circumstance, had to submit to agricultural wage labour tenaciously resisted entry into the capitalist workshop.”
The use of the term wage slave by labor organizations may originate from the labor protests of the Lowell Mill Girls in 1836. The imagery of wage slavery was widely used by labor organizations during the mid-19th century to object to the lack of workers’ self-management. However, it was gradually replaced by the more neutral term “wage work” towards the end of the 19th century, as labor organizations shifted their focus to raising wages.
Karl Marx described Capitalist society as infringing on individual autonomy, by basing it on a materialisti
c and commodified concept of the body and its liberty (i.e. as something that is sold, rented or alienated in a class society). According to Friedrich Engels:
The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master’s interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.
Critics of wage work have drawn several similarities between wage work and slavery:
According to American anarcho-syndicalist philosopher Noam Chomsky, the similarities between chattel and wage slavery were noticed by the workers themselves. He noted that the 19th century Lowell Mill Girls, who, without any reported knowledge of European Marxism or anarchism, condemned the “degradation and subordination” of the newly emerging industrial system, and the “new spirit of the age: gain wealth, forgetting all but self”, maintaining that “those who work in the mills should own them.” They expressed their concerns in a protest song during their 1836 strike:
Oh! isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as I Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die? Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave, For I’m so fond of liberty, That I cannot be a slave.
Defenses of wage labor and chattel slavery in the literature have linked the subjection of man to man with the subjection of man to nature; arguing that hierarchy and a social system’s particular relations of production represent human nature and are no more coercive than the reality of life itself. According to this narrative, any well-intentioned attempt to fundamentally change the status quo is naively utopian and will result in more oppressive conditions. Bosses in both of these long-lasting systems argued that their system created a lot of wealth and prosperity. Both did, in some sense create jobs and their investment entailed risk. For example, slave owners might have risked losing money by buying expensive slaves who later became ill or died; or might have used those slaves to make products that didn’t sell well on the market. Marginally, both chattel and wage slaves may become bosses; sometimes by working hard. It may be the “rags to riches” story which occasionally occurs in capitalism, or the “slave to master” story that occurred in places like colonial Brazil, where slaves could buy their own freedom and become business owners, self-employed, or slave owners themselves. Social mobility, or the hard work and risk that it may entail, are thus not considered to be a redeeming factor by critics of the concept of wage slavery.
Anthropologist David Graeber has noted that, historically, the first wage labor contracts we know about whether in ancient Greece or Rome, or in the Malay or Swahili city states in the Indian ocean were in fact contracts for the rental of chattel slaves (usually the owner would receive a share of the money, and the slave, another, with which to maintain his or her living expenses.) Such arrangements, according to Graeber, were quite common in New World slavery as well, whether in the United States or Brazil. C. L. R. James argued that most of the techniques of human organization employed on factory workers during the industrial revolution were first developed on slave plantations.
The usage of the term “wage slavery” shifted to “wage work” at the end of the 19th century as groups like the Knights of Labor and American Federation of Labor shifted to a more reformist, trade union ideology instead of worker’s self-management. Much of the decline was caused by the rapid increase in manufacturing after the industrial revolution and the subsequent dominance of wage labor as a result. Another factor was immigration and demographic changes that led to ethnic tension between the workers.
As Hallgrimsdottir and Benoit point out:
increased centralization of production… declining wages… [an] expanding… labor pool… intensifying competition, and… [t]he loss of competence and independence experienced by skilled labor” meant that “a critique that referred to all [wage] work as slavery and avoided demands for wage concessions in favor of supporting the creation of the producerist republic (by diverting strike funds towards funding… co-operatives, for example) was far less compelling than one that identified the specific conditions of slavery as low wages…
Some anti-capitalist thinkers claim that the elite maintain wage slavery and a divided working class through their influence over the media and entertainment industry, educational institutions, unjust laws, nationalist and corporate propaganda, pressures and incentives to internalize values serviceable to the power structure, state violence, fear of unemployment and a historical legacy of exploitation and profit accumulation/transfer under prior systems, which shaped the development of economic theory:
Adam Smith noted that employers often conspire together to keep wages low, and have the upper hand in conflicts between workers and employers:
The interest of the dealers… in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public [They] have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.
The concept of wage slavery could conceivably be traced back to pre-capitalist figures like Gerrard Winstanley from the radical Christian Diggers movement in England, who wrote in his 1649 pamphlet, The New Law of Righteousness, that there “shall be no buying or selling, no fairs nor markets, but the whole earth shall be a common treasury for every man,” and “there shall be none Lord over others, but every one shall be a Lord of himself.”
Aristotle stated that “the citizens must not live a mechanic or a mercantile life (for such a life is ignoble and inimical to virtue), nor yet must those who are to be citizens in the best state be tillers of the soil (for leisure is needed both for the development of virtue and for active participation in politics)”, often paraphrased as “all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.”Cicero wrote in 44 BC that “vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labour, not for artistic skill; for in their case the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery.” Somewhat similar criticisms have also been expressed by some proponents of liberalism, like Henry George,Silvio Gesell, and Thomas Paine, as well as the Distributist school of thought within the Catholic Church.
To Marx and anarchist thinkers like Bakunin and Kropotkin, wage slavery was a class condition in place due to the existence of private property and the state. This class situation rested primarily
and secondarily on:
Proponents of anarcho-capitalism such as John Frederic Kosanke, in contrast, believe that in the absence of restrictive statutory regulations and political cronyism, the natural pursuit of property and capital allows a positive sum enrichment of all actors. Employers and employees, as buyers and sellers of services, become peers on an equal footing.
Fascism was more hostile against independent trade unions than modern economies in Europe or the United States. Fascist economic policies were widely accepted in the 1920s and 1930s and foreign (especially US) corporate investment in Italy and Germany increased after the fascist take over.
Fascism has been perceived by some notable critics, like Buenaventura Durruti, to be a last resort weapon of the privileged to ensure the maintenance of wage slavery:
No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.
According to Noam Chomsky, analysis of the psychological implications of wage slavery goes back to the Enlightenment era. In his 1791 book On the Limits of State Action, classical liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt explained how “whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness” and so when the laborer works under external control, “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is.” Both the Milgram and Stanford experiments have been found useful in the psychological study of wage-based workplace relations.
According to research, modern work provides people with a sense of personal and social identity that is tied to
Thus job loss entails the loss of this identity.
Erich Fromm argued that if a person perceives himself as being what he owns, then when that person loses (or even thinks of losing) what he “owns” (e.g. the good looks or sharp mind that allow him to sell his labor for high wages), then, a fear of loss may create anxiety and authoritarian tendencies because that person’s sense of identity is threatened. In contrast, when a person’s sense of self is based on what he experiences in a state of being (creativity, love, sadness, taste, sight etc.) with a less materialistic regard for what he once had and lost, or may lose, then less authoritarian tendencies prevail. The state of being, in his view, flourishes under a worker-managed workplace and economy, whereas self-ownership entails a materialistic notion of self, created to rationalize the lack of worker control that would allow for a state of being.
Investigative journalist Robert Kuttner analyzed the work of public-health scholars Jeffrey Johnson and Ellen Hall about modern conditions of work, and concludes that “to be in a life situation where one experiences relentless demands by others, over which one has relatively little control, is to be at risk of poor health, physically as well as mentally.” Under wage labor, “a relatively small elite demands and gets empowerment, self-actualization, autonomy, and other work satisfaction that partially compensate for long hours” while “epidemiological data confirm that lower-paid, lower-status workers are more likely to experience the most clinically damaging forms of stress, in part because they have less control over their work.”
Wage slavery, and the educational system that precedes it “implies power held by the leader. Without power the leader is inept. The possession of power inevitably leads to corruption in spite of good intentions [Leadership means] power of initiative, this sense of responsibility, the self-respect which comes from expressed manhood, is taken from the men, and consolidated in the leader. The sum of their initiative, their responsibility, their self-respect becomes his [and the] order and system he maintains is based upon the suppression of the men, from being independent thinkers into being ‘the men’ In a word, he is compelled to become an autocrat and a foe to democracy.” For the “leader”, such marginalisation can be beneficial, for a leader “sees no need for any high level of intelligence in the rank and file, except to applaud his actions. Indeed such intelligence from his point of view, by breeding criticism and opposition, is an obstacle and causes confusion.” Wage slavery “implies erosion of the human personality [because] some men submit to the will of others, arousing in these instincts which predispose them to cruelty and indifference in the face of the suffering of their fellows.”
In 19th-century discussions of labor relations, it was normally assumed that the threat of starvation forced those without property to work for wages. Proponents of the view that modern forms of employment constitute wage slavery, even when workers appear to have a range of available alternatives, have attributed its perpetuation to a variety of social factors that maintain the hegemony of the employer class.
Harriet Hanson Robinson in an account of the Lowell Mill Girls wrote that generously high wages were offered to overcome the degrading nature of the work:
At the time the Lowell cotton mills were started the caste of the factory girl was the lowest among the employments of women. … She was represented as subjected to influences that must destroy her purity and selfrespect. In the eyes of her overseer she was but a brute, a slave, to be beaten, pinched and pushed about. It was to overcome this prejudice that such high wages had been offered to women that they might be induced to become millgirls, in spite of the opprobrium that still clung to this degrading occupation.
In his book Disciplined Minds, Jeff Schmidt points out that professionals are trusted to run organizations in the interests of their employers. Because employers cannot be on hand to manage every decision, professionals are trained to ensure that each and every detail of their work favors the right interestsor skewers the disfavored ones in the absence of overt control:
The resulting professional is an obedient thinker, an intellectual property whom employers can trust to experiment, theorize, innovate and create safely within the confines of an assigned ideology.
Parecon (participatory economics) theory posits a social class “between labor and capital” of higher paid professionals such as “doctors, lawyers, engineers, managers and others” who monopolize empowering labor and constitute a class above wage laborers who do mostly “obedient, rote work”.
The terms “employee” or “worker” have often been replaced by “associate”. This plays up the allegedly voluntary nature of the interaction, while playing down the subordinate status of the wage laborer, as well as the worker-boss class distinction emphasized by labor movements. Billboards, as well as TV, Internet and newspaper advertisements, consistently show low-wage workers with smiles on their faces, appearing happy.
Job interviews and other data on requirements for lower skilled workers in developed countries particularly in the growing service sector indicate that the more workers depend on low wages, and the less skilled or desirable their job is, the more employers screen for workers without better employment options and expect them to feign unremunerative motivation. Such screening and feigning may not only contribute to the positive self-image
of the employer as someone granting desirable employment, but also signal wage-dependence by indicating the employee’s willingness to feign, which in turn may discourage the dissatisfaction normally associated with job-switching or union activity.
At the same time, employers in the service industry have justified unstable, part-time employment and low wages by playing down the importance of service jobs for the lives of the wage laborers (e.g. just temporary before finding something better, student summer jobs etc.).
In the early 20th century, “scientific methods of strikebreaking” were devised employing a variety of tactics that emphasized how strikes undermined “harmony” and “Americanism”.
Some social activists objecting to the market system or price system of wage working, historically have considered syndicalism, worker cooperatives, workers’ self-management and workers’ control as possible alternatives to the current wage system.
The American philosopher John Dewey believed that until “industrial feudalism” is replaced by “industrial democracy,” politics will be “the shadow cast on society by big business”.Thomas Ferguson has postulated in his investment theory of party competition that the undemocratic nature of economic institutions under capitalism causes elections to become occasions when blocs of investors coalesce and compete to control the state.
Noam Chomsky has argued that political theory tends to blur the ‘elite’ function of government:
Modern political theory stresses Madison’s belief that “in a just and a free government the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded.” But in this case too it is useful to look at the doctrine more carefully. There are no rights of property, only rights to property that is, rights of persons with property,…
[In] representative democracy, as in, say, the United States or Great Britain […] there is a monopoly of power centralized in the state, and secondly and critically […] the representative democracy is limited to the political sphere and in no serious way encroaches on the economic sphere […] That is, as long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful.
In this regard Chomsky has used Bakunin’s theories about an “instinct for freedom”, the militant history of labor movements, Kropotkin’s mutual aid evolutionary principle of survival and Marc Hauser’s theories supporting an innate and universal moral faculty, to explain the incompatibility of oppression with certain aspects of human nature.
Loyola University philosophy professor John Clark and libertarian socialist philosopher Murray Bookchin have criticized the system of wage labor for encouraging environmental destruction, arguing that a self-managed industrial society would better manage the environment. They, like other anarchists, attribute much of the industrial revolution’s pollution to the “hierarchical” and “competitive” economic relations accompanying it.
Some criticize wage slavery on strictly contractual grounds, e.g. David Ellerman and Carole Pateman, arguing that the employment contract is a legal fiction in that it treats human beings juridically as mere tools or inputs by abdicating responsibility and self-determination, which the critics argue are inalienable. As Ellerman points out, “[t]he employee is legally transformed from being a co-responsible partner to being only an input supplier sharing no legal responsibility for either the input liabilities [costs] or the produced outputs [revenue, profits] of the employer’s business.” Such contracts are inherently invalid “since the person remain[s] a de facto fully capacitated adult person with only the contractual role of a non-person” as it is impossible to physically transfer self-determination. As Pateman argues:
The contractarian argument is unassailable all the time it is accepted that abilities can ‘acquire’ an external relation to an individual, and can be treated as if they were property. To treat abilities in this manner is also implicitly to accept that the ‘exchange’ between employer and worker is like any other exchange of material property … The answer to the question of how property in the person can be contracted out is that no such procedure is possible. Labour power, capacities or services, cannot be separated from the person of the worker like pieces of property.
In a modern liberal-capitalist society, the employment contract is enforced while the enslavement contract is not; the former being considered valid because of its consensual/non-coercive nature, and the later being considered inherently invalid, consensual or not. The noted economist Paul Samuelson described this discrepancy.
Since slavery was abolished, human earning power is forbidden by law to be
capitalized. A man is not even free to sell himself; he must rent himself at a wage.
Some advocates of right-libertarianism, among them philosopher Robert Nozick, address this inconsistency in modern societies, arguing that a consistently libertarian society would allow and regard as valid consensual/non-coercive enslavement contracts, rejecting the notion of inalienable rights.
The comparable question about an individual is whether a free system will allow him to sell himself into slavery. I believe that it would.
Others like Murray Rothbard allow for the possibility of debt slavery, asserting that a lifetime labour contract can be broken so long as the slave pays appropriate damages:
[I]f A has agreed to work for life for B in exchange for 10,000 grams of gold, he will have to return the proportionate amount of property if he terminates the arrangement and ceases to work.
In the philosophy of mainstream, neoclassical economics, wage labor is seen as the voluntary sale of one’s own time and efforts, just like a carpenter would sell a chair, or a farmer would sell wheat. It is considered neither an antagonistic nor abusive relationship, and carries no particular moral implications.
Austrian economics argues that a person is not “free” unless they can sell their labor, because otherwise that person has no self-ownership and will be owned by a “third party” of individuals.
Post-Keynesian economics perceives wage slavery as resulting from inequality of bargaining power between labor and capital, which exists when the economy does not “allow labor to organize and form a strong countervailing force.”
The two main forms of socialist economics perceive wage slavery differently:
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Posted: at 3:43 am
Further Reading In a new report, the court-appointed receiver assigned to investigate an alleged cryptocurrency scam has found no evidence of “any legitimate Gemcoin or other viable business.”
In October 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had sued a Southern California company over an alleged Ponzi scheme resulting in a loss to investors of at least $32 million. If the governments accusations are correct, that would make Gemcoin one of the largest digital-currency-based financial schemes ever.
Thelawsuit came days after the United States Marshals Service and the Arcadia Police Department froze assets and raided corporate officesin Arcadia, north of downtown Los Angeles. Alliance Finance Group and its assets were promptly put into the hands of a court-appointed receiver, whose job it remains to examine what went wrong.
Numerous online promotional videos in many languages claim that Gemcoins parent company Alliance Finance Group and subsidiary United States Fine Investment Arts (USFIA) controlled $50 billion in amber mine assets in Latin America. The companies touted the fact that because Gemcoin was “backed” by these amber mines, this cryptocurrency had inherent value.
According to the February 2016 report, the receiver, Thomas A. Seaman, located over $21 million in gross receipts through the end of 2015. He wrote:
At this point, due to the volume of electronic data and disorganized manner in which it was kept by the Receivership Entities, the Receiver has not yet been able to identify the entire scope of the USFIA enterprise, the number of investors, or specific amounts invested by investors and distributed to them. The Receiver’s work to analyze and better understand the investor data, with the assistance of his forensic computer specialist, is ongoing.
Aside from some income generated by the hotel and rental properties, the Receivership Entities had no significant source of income other than money raised from investors. The Receiver has verified that virtually none of the assets described in online and written marketing materials actually exist. Instead of mines located around the world, millions of dollars in precious gems, and houses and cars available to be awarded to investors, the Receiver has found only costume jewelry, boxes of rocks, and bins filled with tens of thousands of little rings of nominal value.
Steve Chen and the companies associated with Gemcoin also face a proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf of alleged victims filed in state court in Los Angeles.
The lawyer who brought the state case, Long Liu, did not immediately respond to Ars request for comment.
“Before it was just speculation, but now we have concrete evidence to show where the money went and how it was transferred,” Liu told the Pasadena Star-News this week. “All of these companies were set up to defraud investors and to hide the money.”
Posted: September 18, 2015 at 2:46 pm
Buying actual bitcoins has proven dangerous, to say the least. Just look at the unbelievable turbulence in Bitcoin prices — the currency’s value shot up 6,000% in one year before collapsing in value — and the alleged fraud at the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange that led many investors to lose money.
In theory, an exchange-traded fund, or ETF, that mirrors the price of Bitcoin would offer a somewhat safer alternative. Think: something akin to SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD), which tracks gold prices.
But no Bitcoin ETFs have been created. An effort by the twins Cameron and Tyle Winklevoss to do just that has been waiting two years to receive approval from regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission is still trying to figure out how to define and oversee Bitcoin.
This week, ARK Investment Management announced a full embrace of the digital currency. Its ARK Web x.0 ETF (ARKW) became the first ETF to invest in bitcoins.
“Current prices present an attractive entry point for our investors,” Cathie Wood, ARK’s founder and chief investment officer, said in a statement.
But before taking a leap, it would be smart to read the fine print of the ETF, which trades under the ticker symbol “ARKW.”
First, it’s not a pure play on Bitcoin. Even though it announced the Bitcoin play, the ETF is actually an investment in what it calls disruptive technologies. The crypto currency represents just a slice of its holdings, packaged along with Netflix (NFLX, Tech30), LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech30) and athenahealth (ATHN), a cloud-based provider of electronic health records.
Related: Chinese gamblers are all about Bitcoin trading
It’s investing in pink sheet security, not actual Bitcoin
Second, the ARK ETF is not actually investing directly in bitcoins. It’s buying shares of something called the Bitcoin Investment Trust. Most people haven’t even heard of that.
That trust started trading in May on the pink sheets under the ticker symbol “GBTC.” It’s got a market valuation of under $40 million and very little trading volume.
The pink sheets, also known as the over-the-counter market, provide less transparency and oversight from regulators. They’re like a Wild West alternative to the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
“Pink sheets are where most investors aren’t willing to tread,” said Matt Hougan, CEO of ETF.com, a research firm.
GrayScale, which sponsored the Bitcoin trust, defended the decision to list on the pink sheets and noted that a number of major foreign companies such as Adidas (ADDDF) and Roche (RHHBF) list their U.S. shares there.
Related: Winklevoss twins say Bitcoin will explode beyond $1 trillion
Spotty track record at mirroring Bitcoin
Another problem is that the investment hasn’t really mirrored the price of Bitcoin, which defeats the purpose. At times the trust’s shares have spiked or surged — even though underlying Bitcoin prices were relatively calm.
“You’re not really getting Bitcoin here. You’re getting a Bitcoin derivative that kind of tracks the price of Bitcoin — but not really well,” said Hougan. “There are a bunch of leaps of faith in that chain of command.”
The ETF company brushed away these concerns, suggesting that price volatility is actually a good sign.
Another risk for the investment is regulatory. The trust warns investors in disclosure documents that its future may be jeopardized by looming regulation from the SEC.
Related: Former fed in Silk Road case stole $820,000 in bitcoins
Bitcoin is not for the faint of heart
All of this is on top of the inherent risk that goes into investing in anything that has volatility of Bitcoin.
Founded in 2009, Bitcoin burst onto the financial scene this decade as investors looked for an alternative to traditional currencies. Prices skyrocketed more than 6,000% in 2013 before peaking at nearly $1,250.
And then prices collapsed, losing two-thirds of their value last year alone. While Bitcoin has actually calmed down a lot lately, it’s still down 27% this year to $230 apiece.
Related: Greeks rushed to Bitcoin as Grexit loomed
CNNMoney (New York) September 18, 2015: 11:53 AM ET
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There’s a new way to invest in Bitcoin — But buyer beware …
Posted: April 13, 2015 at 11:49 am
Reid Hoffman has an expert eye for promising tech startups. The LinkedIn chairman and co-founder’s early stakes in Facebook, Airbnb and Dropbox prove he’s able to see the next big thing before most of us even know what it is — and its paid off for him time and again.
These days, the so-called startup whisperer is placing his bets on Bitcoin. As a full-time partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, he claims his primary focus is to invest in world-class entrepreneurs with new categories of ideas with the possibility of massive scale. One of those entrepreneurs is Wences Casares, co-founder of Xapo, an ambitious, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bitcoin wallet and storage startup. With Hoffman leading the charge, Greylock invested $20 million in Xapo last year.
Bitcoin has the potential to be a massively disruptive technology, Hoffman wrote in a post announcing the investment last July. It is the leading digital currency and its growing fast.
Related:LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman: Success Tips From Silicon Valley
Then, in November — a month before Bloomberg declared Bitcoin the worst-performing currency of 2014 — he announced a hefty personal stake in Bitcoin that he brokered, a $21 million investment into Blockstream. The Montreal-based startup aims to improve upon Bitcoins blockchain backbone, the shared public ledger upon which the virtual currencys entire network relies.
We caught up with the father of online professional networking recently to find out why hes betting big on Bitcoin and why he thinks the controversial cryptocurrency is here to stay. What follows are portions of that interview, edited for clarity and brevity.
Related: Why This Internet Pioneer Thinks Bitcoin Has the Power to Break the Cycle of Poverty
When did Bitcoin first pique your curiosity and when did you become a believer? I first got into it after speaking with Wences Casares, who I refer to as Patient Zero for Bitcoin in Silicon Valley. Patient Zero is the first infection of a viral contagion.
Id been paying attention to Bitcoin because a couple of other people that Wences had talked with, like Katana Capital founder Charlie Songhurst, had also talked to me about it and said that it was very important. No one had made the argument in a way that stuck yet, but it made me curious. I started to really think about it, so I sought out Wences in the summer of 2013. We had a fairly thorough conversation. He articulated very strong positive theories about Bitcoin and I began to feel empowered.
Related: IBM Looking at Adopting Bitcoin Technology for Major Currencies
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Interview Bitcoin Beloved by Billionaire Bubba