Op-Ed by Derrick Broze
Should Children Be Allowed To Work? Are Video Games Preparing Kids for ‘The Metaverse’? Do I Support Digital Child Slavery?
The answers to these questions might seem unimportant in the grand scheme of all that we are currently facing as we approach 2022. However, they are related to the impending danger of the involuntary tokenization of everything and the push towards the all-encompassing digital prison known as The Metaverse. With that in mind, this essay is both a response to a recent attack on my work, AND an exploration of these important issues, as well as my own philosophical beliefs regarding all of the above.
First, since this is not about names or personalities, I won’t name my accusers. Instead, I will focus on outlining their claims and debunking them. I will also share my views on technology, the sovereignty of children, work, and video games in general.
Am I Calling For Children to Build The Metaverse?
In short, I am being accused of supporting the World Economic Forum, so-called Play-to-Earn schemes, and The Metaverse. More specifically, a single statement I made during my recent interview with Catherine Austin Fitts has been taken out of context in a weak attempt to discredit my work. My words were clipped out of the 56-minute interview and shared without context.
The statement in question was during a discussion with Catherine regarding solutions for our current predicament. Catherine shared a story of whistleblower William Binney calling for communities to educate children on how to build encryption systems, and constantly change these systems. This, Binney believes, would drive the authorities nuts. “I love that idea, the idea of getting enough people educated on how to build encryption systems, and doing it on a grassroots basis, and constantly changing it, so that we can make our digital space safe,” she said. (It should be noted that Catherine’s comments were absent from the video of my comments.)
In response, I told Catherine I appreciated the nuance within our discussion that is often lacking in some corners of the online research community. As I stated, the lack of nuance can be found in both the anti-blockchain/crypto crowd AND the pro-blockchain/crypto crowd. Both communities seem blinded to the weaknesses of their own worldview. Many pro-blockchain folks refuse see the co-opting of the space taking place, and those who are adamantly anti-anything blockchain built their foundation on opposing blockchain so they are inherently blind to any potential good.
The conversation continued with me outlining the obvious: The Predator Class is attempting to bring the “unbanked” of the world into the mainstream, taxed, tracked and traced economy.
“For example, alot of the population here in Mexico where I live do not use, some people use credit cards, but there’s alot of people totally disconnected from that system. And in their view (the Predator Class) they want to come find these people, give them digital IDs, vaccine passports, etc. so they can bring them into the ‘real world’,” I stated. “At the same time, there are those who, I think, do have a freedom mindset snd say, ‘well, if I can go to a Mexican village or an Indian village or a Southeast Asian village where people are living on less than $1 a day and I can teach them encryption’… I have even seen some examples where people are playing games, but their earning real-world money for it. All of a sudden this village has ten kids who are now teaching eachother how to play this game that they cash out real money to repair their home with, or to empower their communities. You can see the potential for positive use cases.”
This is where the clip of my words was cut. However, I continued, “And at the same time, you can see, without that nuance, how it normalizes the world they want as well.”
(Before moving on to address the point of this debate, I will acknowledge that Catherine gave some great follow up advice, stating “There are many people who are unbanked for very good reason. If you have the chance to go to such a village, I would not teach them encryption. Get them to teach you how to run your life without these tools.” I wholeheartedly agree with Catherine here. I have been writing about and promoting the concept of counter-economics and the benefits of being outside of the economic system for 10 years. I haven’t used a bank account since 2008. The last thing I want to do is promote the use of banks or government-controlled digital tools to people who are already free. If they had any interest in digital tools – some do – I would promote decentralized, private digital tools which can liberate.)
Now, some have taken my statements (and additional statements on Twitter) and are attempting to defame my work by claiming I am in favor of forcing children to work for money in the Metaverse, or that I am promoting The Great Reset agenda by calling for children to be placed on the blockchain for the sake of producing profits for their technocratic overlords. Or something like that.
To regular readers/viewers of my work this might sound odd that someone would make such an accusation. After all, I have been warning about Technocracy since at least 2017, including in my documentary The 5G Trojan Horse, as well as writing investigations into Smart Cities, The Great Reset, the potential dangers of blockchain and the Metaverse. I even wrote a book called How To Opt Out of the Technocratic State.
So, why would someone attempt to link my statements to support of The Great Reset, The Metaverse, and child exploitation?
Without attempting to psychologize my accusers I believe it likely boils down to holding different political philosophies and underlying belief systems. Sure, many of my fellow researchers and journalists are interested in similar topics, but that does not mean our views on the economy, technology, or liberation align in any meaningful way. Let’s start by examining the anti-blockchain mentality which is the backbone of the criticisms aimed at me.
Neo-Luddites To The Rescue
My accusers believe that any use of blockchain technology is contributing towards building the Smart City networks, the push toward’s Klaus Schwab’s 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), and The Great Reset/Agenda 2030 vision. I have covered these illogical arguments in previous videos and articles, but, simply put, this is like arguing that using the internet is furthering the Great Reset. After all, we all know that the military helped design the internet (as well as cellphones, social networks, and so much of our digital lives) so by continuing to use the internet you are implicitly condoning the 4IR and The Great Reset. Obviously, this is not a sound argument. Unfortunately, it is to be expected from my accusers because it forms the basis of most of their arguments (including video games as I will show in a moment).
To be clear to anyone who still, somehow, wants to maintain that I am ignorant of the dangers of blockchain and digital currencies – I fully recognize and have reported on the potential dangers of these emerging technologies. I fully understand and have witnessed firsthand the co-opting of the blockchain/crypto space. None of that is in dispute, nor is the valuable research contributed by my accusers.
What is in dispute is whether the truth/freedom communities should take an all or nothing, black or white, simplistic view of these technologies. While some commentators are drawing lines in the sand and demanding that listeners choose a side (and be blocked if they choose the “wrong” side), I continue to call for a nuanced discussion about this vastly important technology that is going to shape our world whether we participate or not.
Those who are attempting to argue that using decentralized, private, anonymous blockchains or cryptocurrencies is feeding into the Great Reset – which is focused on centralization, ending privacy, and eroding private ownership – are simply dishonest. While they are loathe to accept any positive use cases of decentralized tech, they will claim that any potential positive use is feeding into the need for blockchain which will end up serving The Great Reset agenda in the long term. Again, this is akin to arguing that using the internet or cellphones or email or anything digital is supporting The Great Reset. It doesn’t make sense. Especially not when you are using digital tools to empower people, give them privacy, help them build stronger community, or make money that can be used in a positive way.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should place all of our hopes in digital tools anymore than it means we should abandon all digital tools simply because the Predator Class is attempting to make use of them.
Those who are defaming my work are clearly what is often referred to as Luddites or Neo-Luddites. The Luddite movement is an interesting piece of 19th century history involving the English working-class struggling to survive in difficult economic times. The story is more complex than we have the time for in this piece, but essentially the Luddites were known for destroying machines which they blamed for their struggles. Thus, over time, the term Luddite or Neo-Luddite has come to be associated with individuals who hold anti-technology views. These individuals are either hostile to all forms of digital technology, or selectively resistant to some forms. For example, some people might be extremely critical and against blockchain technology, but feel totally comfortable producing videos on a Big Tech platform like YouTube, which is owned by Google, a major player in the push for The Great Reset.
Now, my accusers take an all-or-nothing stance on blockchain so obviously we are not going to see eye to eye on that issue. For them, my support of some blockchain technology is a sign that I am controlled opposition or willfully ignorant, etc. Believe what you want, but if we can’t even acknowledge that technology – all technology, digital or physical – is a tool that can be used for good or ill, then we have a fundamental misunderstanding that will not be rectified easily. I say this as someone who has sympathies for Anarcho-primitvism, anti-civilization theory, and Ted Kaczynski (his writing, not his violent actions). I have my grave concerns for the unfolding of The Great Reset and the role technology will play, but I do not see destroying or avoiding all technology as a viable solution. Not yet, at least.
You are free to have fears of technology and use your voice to outline those fears, but don’t pretend that drawing lines in the sand or opposing technology without acknowledging nuance makes you or your work special. There are many people doing a great job of exposing the dangers of the 4IR and The Great Reset without getting lost in some ideological rabbit hole.
Are Video Games a Gateway to The Great Reset?
My accusers have taken my words and are claiming that I am supporting the push for The Metaverse because of my statements, specifically this statement:
“I have even seen some examples where people are playing games, but their earning real-world money for it. All of a sudden this village has ten kids who are now teaching eachother how to play this game that they cash out real money to repair their home with, or to empower their communities.”
I am being accused of supporting play-to-earn games. What is a play-to-earn game? And is this a bad thing?
First, a play-to-earn game has been described as “the concept of gaming in which a platform provides its players with a chance to earn any form of in-game assets that can be transferred to the real world”. So, by that definition, my statement was supportive of the concept of play-to-earn because I provided an example of a person making real money by playing games (whether on a blockchain or not).
Is this support of a child, teenager, or adult making money by playing video games the same as supporting The Metaverse and The Great Reset? Hardly.
For many people who grew up in the 1980s and after, the idea of being paid to play video games was a fantasy! I had a period of playing video games as a child and teenager until my life became too busy to maintain the habit. Were my late nights as a teenager playing Mario Kart really supporting the future building of The Metaverse? Of course not. This is the same weak argument I outlined above.
It should go without saying (but I will say it anyways, lest someone skew my words again) that the push to groom younger generations for the virtual and augmented reality technology that will provide the experience of the Metaverse is absolutely real and should, absolutely, be a concern. As always, parents and guardians should be aware what their children are being exposed to on the internet, video games, etc. However, the idea that participating in the gaming world – and even worse, being paid to do so! – is automatically contributing to the building of the Metaverse or support of the 4IR is incorrect. This is simply another anti-technology argument disguised as concern for The Great Reset.
My accusers are anti-blockchain, anti-crypto, and apparently, anti-video gaming. They are the neo-Luddites of the truth movement.
Should Children Be Allowed To Work?
The attacks on my statements have shifted from focusing on my alleged promotion of the evil blockchain and the Metaverse to claiming that I am somehow endorsing child labor in the form of children being herded into coding the creation of the digital prison. Or, that I am somehow supporting colonization by mentioning Mexican and Indian villages. I take these claims very seriously.
First, the claim that I am supporting colonization is garbage. I am speaking from firsthand experience of living in and working with marginalized communities. My family history is filled with prison, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression, all results of the colonization of my ancestors from both sides of my family. As a journalist I have also documented the impacts of colonization, from Standing Rock to the San Carlos Apache fighting copper mines in Arizona. I fully understand the impact and destruction of colonization, and, more importantly, have the ability to place the current COVID19 operation and the push for The Great Reset in the context of late stage colonization.
Now, on to the discussion around child labor.
Was my statement calling for children being placed on the blockchain? Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Was I calling for forcing children to work via government mandate (or otherwise)? Not at all.
Did I say that blockchain, crypto, and/or video games were going to solve all of a child’s problems? Never.
Did I imply that a child might be able to improve impoverished circumstances by participating in work, specifically, by playing video games? Yes.
This suggestion was met with pearl clutching by my accusers and their followers on Twitter. How dare I suggest a child, a teenager, or any other conscious being with its own agency might decide to take actions which could empower them and their family! I certainly did not suggest that a child should be forced to play video games for money, or that doing so would solve all their problems. What I did suggest was that children and young adults who live in poor families around the world and are already fond of video games could actually be paid for their time. This could lead to an additional income for the family where they may have been very little. This could also be a kids only way out of a dangerous and unhealthy home.
I believe my accusers are having a visceral reaction to the idea of youth working because of the reality of exploitative child labor of the past and today with companies like Apple and Tesla. They are correct to criticise the notion of child exploitation or forced labor. Additionally, we can not ignore the structural influences which lead to situations where families are living in poverty and their children are sent to beg for money. However, I will not pretend as if voluntarily playing video games to earn money, or learning encryption or any new skill is exploitative.
I am not claiming video games are going to solve the world’s problems. In fact, the esports video game leagues have been plagued with accusations of exhausted players being exploited for profit, as well as players shilling useless NFTs and crypto projects based on undisclosed partnerships. This is not an endorsement of any of that behavior, but rather, an objective, unbiased acknowledgement that video games can lead to a real world income. Nothing more, nothing less.
The final point I will make in regards to the child labor question is that I have no problem with children or teenagers participating in voluntary, consensual work. Obviously, a parent or guardian will ultimately make the decision over whether a youth can work until they are free from their parents’ control, but there is nothing inherently wrong with working to earn a living. It’s an energy exhange that is necessary until we evolve past the need for a currency to exchange and trade goods. Further, I recognize children as sovereign beings who are not owned by the state or their parents. A parent’s job is to be a guardian, a mentor, a protector, and a guide. However, some parents confuse this role with being the authoritarian figure in their child’s life. I reject this.
As Emma Goldman wrote in her 1906 essay, The Child and Its Enemies:
“Is the child to be considered as an individuality, or as an object to be moulded according to the whims and fancies of those about it? This seems to me to be the most important question to be answered by parents and educators. And whether the child is to grow from within, whether all that craves expression will be permitted to come forth toward the light of day; or whether it is to be kneaded like dough through external forces, depends upon the proper answer to this vital question.”
Practically speaking, support of consensual, voluntary work to improve one’s life is absolutely necessary in some parts of the world. For example, where I live in Mexico there are places with alarming levels of poverty which would shock most people living in Western nations. I see indigenous women with their children, some who appear 5 years or younger, begging for money. Sometimes they juggle balls – mother with child on her shoulders – at traffic lights in the hopes of earning a few pesos from those who empathize with their struggle.
Am I to believe that this young child and her mother are wrong for seeking to improve their situation by earning money? Would my accusers prefer I look down on these families if they make a decision to earn money playing online games at the local cyber cafe?
I refuse to do this. Instead, I seek to offer solidarity and share opportunity when I see it. This means that I am working with Mexicans to bring private cryptos like Monero to communities that lack access to banks (or don’t want it) and want to remain outside of the mainstream financial system. This also means my good friend Kenny is seeking to help local teenagers learn the ropes of games or gain skills which can empower them and their families. The beautiful thing is that by taking such action – rather than sniping from the sidelines – we can help these bright minds understand the differences between The Great Reset, the Metaverse dystopia and the potential for a rebirth of decentralization, individual sovereignty, self ownership, and bodily autonomy.