Cash outs, frustrations and democracy

 

Hello everyone, a few words about:

 

1.  Record cash outs

2.  Frustration

3.  Democracy

 

 

1.  Record cash outs

A few days ago, empowr distributed the largest amount of AMCO (accelerated maturity) cash outs in its entire history, very nearly doubling the previous record (which occurred only last month).

In fact, for the first time, cash outs provided to citizens exceeded 100% of all cash coming into empowr the month before.

Wait. How is it even possible for empowr to provide more cash outs to citizens than the cash it brings in?  Here’s how:

Thanks to everyone’s hard work, the empowr marketplace is exploding with products for sale. As a result, many citizens are choosing to use some, or even all of the cash out amounts they have been provided, to shop in the marketplace, or to pay their ad platform fees or their power user subscriptions.

When they do that, their cash out doesn’t leave the empowr economy….

… which means empowr can then distribute even more cash outs to other citizens…

… pushing up the total amount provided to citizens (that they could cash out if they so desired) to above 100%.

 

OK, so record cash outs were provided, but some people were not happy. Why not?

Well, of course cash outs are not distributed evenly to citizens.

That’s because cash outs are based on many factors, including:

·      -- If product sales that were marked as “Item Received” by customers

·      -- How well distributed those sales were (all to a few people, or to different people)

·      -- Their number of daily goals hit

·      -- Their reputation score (how customers rate them)

·      -- Their legitimacy score (which is based on many – literally hundreds of different behavioral and usage patterns, such as whether a citizen has multiple accounts, had “fake” transactions, etc.

·      -- How often they associated with other citizens with low legitimacy scores

·      -- How much cash they had brought into empowr for any reason, such as to pay for marketplace purchases, power user subscriptions, ads or ad platform fees (this is new)

·      -- How many friends they had brought into empowr that were succeeding

 

And these are just some of the factors considered by the empowr algorithms, when deciding which and who's earnings maturity to accelerate.

Since these factors differ greatly with each citizen, each person’s cash out amount will differ greatly too, of course.

There are other factors that play a big part in determining cash outs, that are not based on the specific citizen’s performance, such as:

·      -- How much cash is available for distribution

·      -- How the mix between the above factors is changing from month to month.

For example, just a few months ago, most of the cash was distributed based on Daily Goals hit, with a smaller part based on sales, because sales volumes were low. Now, as sales volumes are growing rapidly, the system of course values sales (which are results) over goals hit (which are activities that lead to sales).

 

The frustration on the part of some citizens, as best I can understand it, is that some of them had higher expectations (for larger cash outs) than what they ended up receiving, because:

·      -- They received larger cash outs in prior months, for the same or greater level of activities or results

·      -- They had previously made certain assumptions or calculations about what amount would be “fair” and that didn’t materialize

·      -- They had certain personal expenses that they hoped the cash out amounts would exceed

·      -- They compared their cash out amount (and activities and results) to that of other citizens, and felt like their cash out amount was unfair

  

2.  Are YOU frustrated?

Are these or other things in empowr frustrating you?

Are there things that you would do differently with the platform?

If your answer to any of the above questions is YES, you’re not alone.

empowr is a complicated economy and platform, and there are many, many things and features, that need to be improved, added or fixed.

Since we can only work on a few items at a time, the question is…

    In what order, should we work on the issues and opportunities?

Ask ten different people what things they want worked on first, and we’ll get ten very different answers.

The right answer to that question doesn’t exist – in my opinion.

There is a right process, however, and that’s self-rule… also known as democracy.

 

Democracy works best locally

We believe that democracy is best if it happens at a local level.

We believe the right answer to the question of priorities, is for you to have the power at a local level…

… to elect your local leaders…

… to decide all the rules of the platform…

… to elect the local judges to arbitrate disputes…

… to launch billing partners…

… and decide how cash outs should be provided…

… to launch new features…

… and to tweak the existing features to your liking.  

 

What needs to happen for democracy to happen locally

Enabling the above to happen will take a lot of engineering work – so the platform can be modified and expanded on at a local level -- and we can’t wait to get to it.

 

So, what are we working on before we get to that?

As previously discussed, before democracy can thrive, we believe we first need to enable the empowr economy to thrive.

 

Towards that, we are currently working to relieve these pain points:


SELLING

The hassle of listing products 

Very soon, forget about listing a product to sell.

Instead, simply snap a photo of that shirt, your old mobile phone or necklace.

People can click on the item in the photo, to start the bidding.

 

The hassle of packaging and shipping

When you sell something, you need to find a box, and then make the time to go to the post office.

We’re working on a solution so you don’t have to do that anymore.

 

The cost of shipping

When you sell something, you have to go out-of-pocket to pay for shipping.

We’re working on a solution to eliminate that out-of-pocket cost for you.

 

Much more revenue for your products

Imagine being able to earn over and over again, using the same product.

We’re working on a solution for you to earn recurring revenue from the things you list, as opposed to sell each item once and it’s gone forever.

 

Don’t have products to sell?

We’re getting ready to unleash Services, so you don’t have to just sell products to earn AMCO cash outs.

 

The hassle of listing Services

As soon as you can earn cash outs from Services, you’ll want to eliminate the hassle of listing a service.

See a service that someone else is offering – that you think you can offer too?

With only one single click, now you’re offering it too.

 

BUYING

The variety of products available to you (as a buyer)

Imagine having ten, fifty or even one hundred times the variety of products for you to access, as a buyer, in the empowr marketplace.

We’ve got a solution in the works to make that happen.

 

The cost of products you want

At the same time, imagine the cost of accessing the products you want dropping by as much as 80, 90 or even 95%?

Believe it or not, a solution that will do just that is in the works for you.

 

EARNING

Hundreds of new ways for you to earn

Now imagine hundreds of new ways for you to earn.

With the launch of our app platform, developers will be able to dream up new ways, and compete with each other to bring you new ways to earn.

 

LEARNING

Making it easier to learn

Let’s face it, empowr is complicated. We’re working on solutions to make it easier for the newest citizens to learn and get going.

 

Making it easier to invite your friends

Simply take a photo of a friend, and let the community start bidding on her shirt, his bike, her old cell phone.

What better way for your friend to get introduced to empowr than to see its members wanting to help them earn, even before they’ve joined?

 

TEACHING

Making it more efficient to teach

A number of tools are in the works to make success coaches more efficient and capable of helping their students.

 

EMPOWERMENT

Less frustration with empowr’s decisions

Along with our president continuing to be elected by you, with think enabling you to elect your local leaders is the way to go.

Your local leaders need to be able to modify the platform in all the ways that matter to you.

And of course all the above is happening simultaneously to all the other issues, bugs and improvements you are reporting on a daily basis.

 

3.  Democracy now?

We feel and share your frustrations. We don’t think we have all the answers; not even close.

We don’t even feel like the answers that will satisfy some, will satisfy all.

There’s only one way forward, and that’s to empower you to make decisions and take actions at a local level.

Empowering you to do that is a massive project that takes a lot of engineering work, which we are 100% committed to doing.

Let us know if you feel like the list of things we’re working, above, before getting to that massive project, is optimal…

…or if you would rather we stop working on those things and get focused on bringing local democracy and empowerment to you sooner.

 

We look forward to your thoughts.

 

Hello everyone,

A few quick notes about latest AMCO cash out. 

What’s new in how AMCO cash outs are being calculated?

A few months ago, we launched accelerated matured cash outs (AMCOs) so we could get cash outs to you faster. 

Since then, every month the engineers have been improving the AMCO algorithms, by adding additional factors.


Here’s what has transpired thus far:

A.  At first, AMCOs were based on Daily Goals hit.  By hitting daily goals, you’re doing the ACTIVITIES that help the empowr economy grow.

B.  Of course not all activities generate results, so next the engineers added the ability for you to get larger AMCOs when your product listings actually sell.  

C.  Of course, not all sales end up being received by the end customer. So the engineers added to the AMCO algorithms, the ability for you to get larger AMCOs when your listings that are sold, are marked as “Item Received” by your customers.  (IE: Items Received = REAL RESULTS)


Note: Each month, as the marketplace and economy grow, the algorithms are placing a larger and larger emphasis on results (Item Received items) rather than on simply hitting Daily Goals that do not necessarily generate results, or even sales made that are not marked as Item Received by the customer and rated well.

Example:

Let’s say Joe hit his Daily Goal 30 times in January, and so did Sally.

But the things that Joe sold (IN DECEMBER) were delivered to his customers, and his customers hit “Item Received” and they rated Joe well…

… but Sally’s (DECEMBER) items did not sell… or, they did sell but the customer didn’t acknowledge receiving them… or didn’t rate Sally well.


The difference between Joe and Sally’s AMCO will be night and day.

If you are noticing that some citizens’ AMCOs are much bigger than others, that is the biggest explanation as to why.

To be clear, the empowr algorithms are valuing RESULTS more and more each month, over activities that do not create results.

So if you want larger AMCOs, you’ll want to sell things and ensure they are received by your customers, and ensure your customers are happy.

As a reminder, AMCOs are based on your Daily Goals in the month that just passed (in this case, January) and more importantly, on your sales from the month before that (in this case, December).


D.  Now, starting with the AMCO cash outs that went out yesterday, the engineers have added another factor, that considers any money you have brought into the empowr economy.  

This means that in their latest AMCO cash out, the people that brought more cash to empowr, will have noticed that the maturity of more of their earnings have been accelerated. 



How will this latest addition benefit everyone?

Every single penny that anyone ever cashes out from empowr, must come from somewhere.

Therefore, in addition to rewarding people for their ACTIVITIES and RESULTS, as we have done in the earlier steps (A, B & C above)…

… we must also measure and reward people for bringing CAPITAL (money) to the economy.  



For the sake of clarity, with your permission, I’ll repeat myself:

The ONLY way your cash outs will grow, is if empowr’s revenues grow.

Because empowr wishes to continue to grow your cash outs, together we must also reward people that bring money to our economy.

And that’s why we are also using AMCOs to encourage and reward people that bring cash into empowr, in addition to rewarding everyone’s other important activities and results, as we have done in steps A, B and C in the last few months.



What else is being done to grow your cash outs? 

To further thank and reward the people that are bringing cash to empowr, the engineers added the ability for you to get a Matching Earning Bonus…

… which means for a limited time, starting now, you’ll instantly receive $1 in empowr earnings for every $1 you bring into empowr to pay for your ads, marketplace purchases or power user subscriptions. 

This means that, for a limited time, all your purchases are virtually free when you make them using your credit card or PayPal.

In addition, you’ll receive larger AMCOs.

 

What? Is that a typo?

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. This is a limited time only opportunity that will likely be gone soon.

If you have the ability, you’ll want to use your credit card or PayPal to pay for your purchases such as your ads and ad platform fees, power user subscriptions and marketplace purchases.

When you do that, you’re not only making your purchases virtually free, but starting now, you’re also increasing the size of your cash outs at the end of the month, because you’re helping everyone receive more cash outs.

 

What if your cash out wasn’t as large as you wanted it to be?

1.  My advice is to focus on your sales. 

It’s no longer good enough to list things that you know won’t sell, or that your customers won’t be happy with.

Your energy is best spent asking yourself what you can list in the marketplace that customers will want. 

When they buy it, make sure they receive it quickly and check in with them, to make sure they are happy. 

You have got the power to generate huge earnings on empowr, and if you decide to delight your customers, you too will generate larger and larger AMCO cash outs.

 

2.  Use your earnings to your benefit.

You are probably earning really well on empowr, from your posts, and if you are at least hitting your Daily Goals, you can spend your earnings in the empowr marketplace, which is exploding with products.



Summary:

AMCOs are calculated based on:

1.  Daily Goals hit (in the month that just passed, January)

2.  Most importantly, sales (from December) marked as Item Received by the customer

3.  Capital brought into the economy

… in addition to other factors that have previously been communicated, including when you invite friends.


Next month

Of course, your AMCOs next month will be based on your sales that were item received in January (and your Daily Goals from February)…

… so to get the largest AMCOs next month, you want to ensure your sales from January are marked as “Item Received” by your customers, and that they rate you well.

 

Any questions? We’re here for you.


Your President,
Brian Woosley

 

Update 2/9/2017: The improvements being made by the engineering team is unfortunately taking longer than anticipated. We expect that they will be completed within the next 24 hours, and AMCOs will be distributed at that time.

We understand how important this is to everyone and will be working through the night to get your AMCOs to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for your understanding and our apologies for the delay. 

 

Hello, empowr citizens!
 
Thanks to everyone for their hard work in working towards the accomplishment of the empowr mission and building the empowr economy.
 
A quick update regarding January accelerated matured cash outs (AMCOs) which usually go out on the 7th of the following month.
 
Each month, the engineers have been improving the AMCO technology in time for distribution by the 7th.  This month, however, they are a couple days behind schedule, unfortunately. The latest information I have is that your AMCO for January will be going out in 36 hours from now.
 
We apologize for the delay. Congratulations to everyone who has been hitting their Daily Goals, and doing an awesome job successfully buying and selling in the empowr marketplace. 
 
And we thank you for your understanding,
 
Your President,
Brian Woosley

Why empowr (part 9)

by Johnny Cash on February 05, 2017

Why empowr (part 9)

Hello everyone,

Together, we've been reading the Why empowr book, written by one of the empowr founders. 

If you're interested in why empowr was created, or want to know where it's headed, this is a good way to find out.

Just joining the conversation? You can read the earlier parts here:  
Part 1:   Here
Part 2:   Here
Part 3:  Here
Part 4:  Here
Part 5:  Here
Part 6:  Here
Part 7:  Here
Part 8:  Here

As always, many thanks for your thoughtful comments that you left in the earlier parts; we're all reading your comments very carefully (and deleting spam and unrelated comments).


Thank you!

 

Education saved the world...

As the industrial revolution kicked off in the mid-1700s, affordable, accessible quality public education became increasingly important to the world. The world population increase, GDP, productivity, and the advancement of every technological field benefitted from this phenomenon. Ultimately, improved public education has helped much of humanity live longer, happier, healthier lives.

 

“We don’t need no education!” At least, that’s what the song said as I listened to it in my classroom. It was my freshman year of high school, and I was stuck in a French class in which I had absolutely no interest. I made my disinterest glaringly apparent to my French teacher by blasting Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in The Wall” during class on one memorable day. For those not familiar with the song, it basically accuses schools of brainwashing students and turning them into drones for society—sort of like simple bricks in a wall. Not the most inspiring song to be listening to as I began my high school education.

As I sat in class, smirking at my French teacher while he scowled down at me, a big vein in his forehead pulsing, I thought I was the funniest kid in school. I had been a rebellious student since the beginning of the semester, but it appeared that Pink Floyd and I had finally pushed my teacher over the edge. He grabbed me by the arm, stood me up, walked me to the empty classroom next door, and forcefully sat me down.

At this point, I was pretty sure I was going to get reamed. You know, the typical threats about the principal’s office, calling my parents, that sort of thing. But that day my teacher had something entirely different in mind. With a look that combined extreme annoyance with resignation, he told me that, so long as I stayed in the empty classroom next door for the entire rest of the semester during French class and didn’t disrupt the other students’ learning, I could do whatever I wanted and he would still give me an “A” in the class.

I thought I was getting the deal of the century! I got to sit and listen to my music and I didn’t have to put up with any useless, boring French lessons; all while still getting a great grade in the class. Since I didn’t like French and I flat out hated French class, I quickly agreed to my teacher’s offer and spent French period for the rest of the semester listening to music and screwing around in the empty classroom next door. At the time, I thought it was a great arrangement.

But here’s the thing, my French is terrible now. If my teacher back in high school could have found a way to reach me and help me to understand how awesome it can be to know another language, I might actually be able to speak at least passable French today. I was a cocky, cynical teenager who was a giant pain in the ass for my teachers, but I remember that some of my best teachers were still able to reach me and help me learn the subjects that make me the (arguably) well-rounded person I am today. Without that solid educational foundation, I would probably never have been able to build the companies I’ve built or develop the new technologies I’ve been a part of creating.

And that’s really the point of this whole story.

The difference that great teachers
and quality education make

The best teachers and educational systems never give up on providing their students with the highest quality education that’s available, whether those students are cooperative and friendly, or they’re snot-nosed little jerks like I was. This is because, over the past few hundred years, the world has realized that ensuring the next generation is educated is one of the best ways to safeguard the future of a country. Top-notch teachers and the educational systems they are a part of are one of the cornerstones on which every industrialized nation has been built. President Franklin D. Roosevelt even went so far as to say, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

The global recognition that an affordable quality education is critical to a country’s success is something that is taken for granted today. Nobody believes a country can get away with having a terrible educational system and still expect to remain globally competitive for very long. But this wasn’t always the case. Despite the invention of the printing press in 1439, which made books exponentially more affordable to produce, up until the 18th century, education was often restricted to a relatively small portion of the population. The best that most regular people could hope for was to find a good trade master to whom they could apprentice.

While the start of the industrial revolution in the mid-1700s began to push countries toward educating enough people to invent, produce, and run new machines, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the model of affordable, quality public education we have today really started to become popular. New national leaders created quality public school systems that were free (or at least very affordable) for everyone, regardless of their status in society. In addition to improving access to education, modern educational systems increased the quality of the material being taught by establishing schools dedicated to training top-notch, professional teachers and professors.

As a result of these educational reforms and the new technologies being produced by the industrial revolution, the world experienced some of the most rapid growth in the history of humanity, as death rates plummeted and birth rates did not. For example, up until the early 18th century, the population of the world had remained under 1 billion people. Yet, as a result of educational reforms and the inventions of the new generations of engineers and scientists that those reforms inspired, the world population jumped from under 1 billion people in the year 1800 to over 6 billion people in the year 2000.

                Why empowr (part 9)

 

Another example of a benefit of improved public education is how much longer people started to live, once educational reform began. Between 1500 and 1800, the average life expectancy of a regular European is estimated at forty years of age. Thanks to advancements in medicine, sanitation, and health care (particularly reductions in infant mortality) produced by educational reforms, the average life expectancy has now more than doubled, with the average European born in 2014 expected to live an incredible eighty-one years. This spectacular growth spurt for humanity was made possible by the industrial, societal, and technological advances created by highly educated people.

Educated people and
the wonders they created

Many of the most fantastic contributions that have been made to the world were invented or discovered by highly-educated people. Bernard of Chartres, a famous 12th century philosopher and scholar, once wrote that modern people are much like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants. What he was trying to get at is that, because of those who came before us who learned so much, we can now advance so much further than we ever could have done without their accumulated knowledge.

Because education gives us the ability to stand on the shoulders of giants, it has, over the course of history, led to inventions that revolutionized the world. For instance, take the case of Waldemar Haffkine, a famous Russian doctor and creator of the first vaccines for cholera and the black plague. Born in 1860, Haffkine was educated as a child in Berdyansk, a city in what is now Ukraine.

He attended Malorossiisky University in Odessa, where he studied microbiology and had a chance to work with future Nobel laureates. He eventually earned his doctorate and went on to work at the Louis Pasteur Institute in Paris. It was there, in 1892, that he developed a vaccine for cholera, a disease that was creating regular pandemics throughout the world.

Eventually, Haffkine created a vaccine for the bubonic plague, a disease that had once wiped out almost a quarter of humanity. Haffkine was also a brave man, testing out his vaccines on himself before trying them on other human beings.

Speaking of vaccines, no discussion of them would be complete without including the creator of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk. The son of poor Jewish immigrants, Salk’s intelligence was recognized early on, and at age thirteen he was allowed to attend Townsend Harris High School, a school for gifted children. The public high school prepared him well to attend City College of New York, which charged no tuition but gave him the education he needed to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

Salk attended medical school and graduated as a medical doctor. Many years later, he contributed to creating a flu vaccine for the U.S. Army and, in 1957, created the world’s first vaccine for polio. In the U.S. alone, polio was killing thousands of people each year and crippling many thousands more. After Salk created the vaccine, it was widely distributed worldwide, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

Most, if not all, vaccines were created by highly dedicated and highly educated medical professionals who learned from the experience and hard work of their predecessors. Thus, without education, millions of people throughout the world would be either dead or horribly crippled by terrible diseases. To get a small idea of the difference that vaccines have made in the United States alone, just take a look at this comparison:

Why empowr (part 9)

 

While vaccines are wonderful, they’re just one of the fantastic advances brought on by the power of modern education. The number of discoveries and inventions made by highly educated people is countless, but here are a few more, just in case you’re not already convinced.

If you’re reading this on a computer, chances are you have education to thank for it, especially so if the computer is using a Windows operating system. Microsoft founder Bill Gates graduated from Lakeside School, a top American high school, in 1973 before going on to Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, where he continued his pursuit of computer science.

One of the most popular misconceptions about Gates is that he didn’t need education to succeed but rather did everything on his own. Gates laid this myth to rest in a recent interview when he said, “Although I didn’t complete my degree, I was very close. I didn’t leave school because I was bored or because I didn’t see the value in completing my education. I left because I believed we had a small window of opportunity to launch Microsoft. But, since that time, I have certainly taken a lot of college courses—either online or on DVD. It’s one of my favorite things to do—so I’d have to be described as an enthusiast when it comes to higher education.”

To further demonstrate Gates’s enthusiasm for education, one need look only at the work that the charity he and his wife created is doing across the globe. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spends millions of dollars every year on philanthropy aimed at improving global access to affordable, high-quality education.

The value of education is not limited to technical fields, either. Some of the world’s most famous and admired people have been dedicated advocates of education. World renowned South African hero Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 

Mandela himself made extraordinary efforts to pursue his own education, even attending college at a time when doing so was extremely difficult for black South Africans.

Another widely respected activist and peacemaker, Mahatma Gandhi, recognized how critical education was to the success of a country, although he thought that teaching through doing was the key to educational success. Gandhi once said, “The real system of education is one where the children of rich and poor, of king and subject, receive education through crafts.” One of the lesser-known facts about Gandhi is that he was an English-trained barrister (the English term for lawyer).

The long and short of all of this is that regardless which aspect of modern life you look at, education has played a critical role in making it possible at some point. From constitutions and laws written by highly educated intellectuals to scientific advancements made by doctors who spent years in school honing their minds—without widespread, affordable, quality education, the modern world would simply not exist.

By giving huge swaths of humanity access to public schools staffed by well-paid, respected, high-quality teachers, countries around the world have done their very best to prepare students to participate in the growing global economy and in the governments responsible for running those countries. The entire human race has benefitted from the new technologies and ideas that this strategy of universal education produced.

The most important defining aspects of the modernization of global education were accessibility, quality, and affordability. And it’s the rapid reduction in these aspects that now threatens the success of some industrialized nations.

Why empowr (part 8)

by Johnny Cash on February 04, 2017

Why empowr (part 8)


Hello everyone,

Together, we've been reading the Why empowr book, written by one of the empowr founders. 

If you're interested in why empowr was created, or want to know where it's headed, this is a good way to find out.

Just joining the conversation? You can read the earlier parts here:  
Part 1:   Here
Part 2:   Here
Part 3:  Here
Part 4:  Here
Part 5:  Here
Part 6:  Here
Part 7:  Here

As always, many thanks for your thoughtful comments that you left in the earlier parts; we're all reading your comments very carefully (and deleting spam and unrelated comments).

Thank you!
 

Around the world, democracy is in greater danger
than any time in recent history

The news from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1990’s, the fall of the Berlin Wall, those were a time when the march of democracy and freedom in the world seemed inevitable. Every time you opened up a newspaper, you expected to see another country opening its arms to freedom.

And today? The trend is leaning in the opposite direction. Recently the watchdog group Freedom House released its annual report on freedom and democracy around the world. It analyzed nearly 200 countries, based on the United Nation's declaration of human rights. They concluded that democracy is in greater danger than anytime in the last 25 years, with 36% of the world’s population not being free, 24% partly free, and 40% free.

According to their report, democracy has been declining for the last decade. In 2014, 61 countries saw their freedom decline and 33 saw their freedom improve, the worse showing in over ten years.

If you look at the 21st century overall, freedom has peaked, according to Freedom House. The least free area of the world is Africa and the Middle East, where 85% of the population is not free. The exception is Tunisia—which just a decade ago, had one of the most tyrannical governments in the world.

Dictatorship is on the rise, and its nature is changing—they’re no longer even pretending to be democratic. Russia’s invasion of Crimea is the most noticeable example. China is arresting activists more than ever and now even televising their confessions.

In Egypt the military has taken over and the courts sentenced hundreds of political prisoners to be executed in fake trials.

There are a good number of dictatorships such as Ethiopia, Azerbaijan and Vietnam, which have managed to avoid the Western media’s attention but are just as oppressive.

It’s not all bad news, with the Ukrainians revolting against their government despite Russian efforts—and we’ve also seen some very interesting resistance to oppression in Hong Kong.

The bottom line is that at the end of the cold war, it appeared for a moment that freedom was an unstoppable force, but every force has an undercurrent and perhaps that’s what we’re seeing these days.

 

***

 

At empowr, we are huge believers in the power of democracy. Even though it has some serious challenges, it absolutely can be fixed. In the fifteen years that we’ve been working on empowr, hardly a few days passed where we weren’t thinking about and discussing the news, the issues as we saw them and what we could do, as concerned citizens and technologists, to make a difference. More importantly, we have spent all of those years designing, coding, and integrating dozens of interconnected technologies with the objective of making a difference in the direction and future of democracy. If we don’t try to help in the only way we can, then we, too, can’t do a damned thing other than complain.

One critical way we can make peaceful revolutions possible again is by helping voters understand that their democracy is dying and that its only hope for survival is to impose limits on how many terms any politician may serve, as well as on how much money any single person or entity can give them or spend directly or indirectly on their election campaigns.

 

The most successful way this has been done in the past is by enabling every citizen to have affordable access to a world-class education—an absolutely essential part of ensuring that democracy endures.

In the next part, we'll get right into that...

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