I Am A Thief
I am a thief. I steal. In fact, I've been stealing for a very long time.
I've evolved, as a thief. My first thieving experiment didn't go so well. I was in a Safeway (you know those right? they're all the same, except the ones in Danville and rich neighborhoods look like resorts). I was walking down the candy aisle, and low and behold! This bag of skittles was open! Just open! I thought to myself, "Well, this is damaged goods. It's unsellable! The manufacturer of this candy's marginal revenue on this item is 0. The retailers value of this good is 0. But the marginal benefit to me is...well high! This by definition, is pareto optimality. 2 economic agents can increase their benfit without hurting each other! Wow!" So I pop the ****** in my mouth. I was five.
I didn't really think like this at the time. It was more like, "Oh! Open bag of skittles. Yoink!".
"What did you do?" -asked dad. Whoa, how'd he get behind me?? How did my ninja skills fail me? Ninja's can't be snuck up on. Oh wait, I'm still five.
"What?" -not so smart answer from a five year old.
"What did you just do?" -dad
"What?" -still haven't thought of a better answer five year old.
"Did you just take something? -dad
"What do you mean?" -trying to play dumb now five year old.
"From that bag of skittles?" -dad
"OH! That! It was already opened?" -five year old me, but still the same answer I would have given as a 31 year old.
"If you want skittles, just tell me. I'll buy them for you." -dad
Schoooled! By dad! Little did I know at that time, that dad too was a fellow thief. Oh the hypocrisy! But that is a story for another time.
At the time, I didn't learn much. I just knew that my ninja skills weren't up to snuff and had to be much improved. I can't let adversaries sneak up on me like that, or my career as a stealth assassin wouldn't last very long or be very lucrative. I can look back on the situation now and see that often times, the people who tell you not to steal, are themselves thieves.
Today I am an information thief. A software engineer. We are all thieves, at least by definition of our legal system. We take ideas, mostly from other informations thieves, and apply these ideas which we've stolen from the internet (it's this black market for information). We fence this information to our employers, who pay handily and well for this information that we actively steal on a daily basis. We steal them from big companies, small companies, individuals, but mostly we steal them from other information thieves that oddly enough, have placed these items up on the information black market...so they can be stolen! By other information theives! It's. Wierd. I think they call it sharing. My five year old self would know.
Yet there is this evil faction of highly paid individuals whose job and purpose in life is to point the finger at thieves, and say, you stole this! You stole this...from US! We must be compensated. Pay us, or we will..we will take you to court!
These, imma just call them "Wraiths" for now, because it humors me to think that we little thieves are just little hobbits from the shire that just like to steal potatoes from the neighboring farm after we light up on shire pipe-weed. These wraiths start their careers at 165k! They work for large (yes, hundred billion dollar plus large) cooperations (*cough 0racl3 *cough) who make money by 1) buying ideas, so that they can 2) say they own ideas, so they can 3) sue people who "use" their ideas, so they can 4) stop small tech companies from growing, so they can 5) stifle growth, so they can 6) solidify their place in the universe as the only software company that has ever brought forth technology to move humanity forward so they can build the best yacht team ever!
Best YACHT TEAM EVER!
Why would you trade technological growth so you can build a yacht team! Yachts are stupid! I'd probably get sea-sick on one!
I'M VERY PRONE TO SEA SICKNESS!
Are we really the thieves here? We that try to share what we've learned with each other, so that we can grow new technology for the ecosystem that feeds and supports our loved ones? So we can build an information system that promotes freedom of information, the one social tool that can offset the advantage that large economic predators have against us? That assymetric information advantage, George Akerlof defines, that they have on us and freely exploit?
Since when did we decide it was a good idea to take our lives, experiences, the songs that sing to us and comfort us when we're sad, the stories that warm us up and get us ready to sleep, sell this off to some unknown economic agent on a secondary market that parcels this out into stocks and patents and other yacht facilitation devices?
This is cliche, but if a tree falling in the woods is unheard, then what is a song that isn't downloaded? Or a story that isn't shared? Or an idea that isn't collaborated on?
IT'S IDIOTIC! No wait, I'M IDIOTIC! No...well, ONLY SOMETIMES! Ok, maybe FREQUENTLY!
Anyway, it's 9:45 and I have to go practice the guitar and then continue my ninja training at the secret ninja training facilities they call the gym. you know, that thing that people on facebook like to talk about. idiots.