Paradoxical value of zero value men

In my recent posts I explored a definition of value in men as his market value to society: how public is information about him: his name and contact information, his capabilities and track record of success in each, his network of associates who will readily accept any referrals from him, and whether he is approachable for requests of his assistance. The value of the man increases depending on the value of people who would seek out his participation in their endeavors. In this definition, the value is not necessarily tied to wealth or income. Certainly, wealth or income correlates with value, but it is possible to be high value with little money, or low value with lots of money. It really comes down to the effectiveness and extent of public marketing of the man.

In contemporary life, the high value status is widely sought out. I believe the recent decade’s maturation of the Internet, and social media in particular, incentivizes value building. We call it building a brand where the brand is an individual’s name and contact information. We also call it influencer status where the goal is to build as large a network of subscribers, followers, etc., and then prominently display those counts as part of the brand. While this is explicitly visible to the broad population through major social media platforms, the same basic aspiration occurs more in more exclusive networks.

I like the summarization of contemporary life as equating friendships with business partners. Specifically referring to the value of men, this is analogous to Briffault’s Law: “Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place”, where society as a whole replaces the female. In short, the value of a man is the benefit that man offers to others and the value of those who would seek his participation.

While modern culture encourages the striving for high value, and celebrates those who attain it, there exists lower value men who either are still working their way up, or have settled for a less visible value. At the very lowest end are men who have abandoned the pursuit of value at all, and consequently they have abandoned associations. If all friendships are business partners, there are no friendships without some type of collaboration to offer something to the broader market. The lowest valued men are those who withdraw any offering of benefit to others.

Withdrawing offers of benefits will withdraw the man from associations with others, at least within the areas of modern life that offer wealth or income. There may remain the isolated self-reliant family units or clubs who can avoid outside entanglements yet still offer inter-personal value. These may result in associations that have no business-partner type of requirements. To the extent these exist, they do provide a lower limit of value because there is at least an appreciation for the association, even if it may not be welcome or sought out.

In last couple posts, I described a zero value man as one who withdrawals his marketing of self from everyone. In particular, I am fascinated by the ones who deliberately hide capabilities he can offer either immediately or through some effort. At the extreme end, these men will stubbornly refuse to offer their capabilities at any offered reward.

There is the phrase “every man has his price” meaning any one can be enticed to do give up something if the reward is high enough. Price in this context includes non-financial rewards such as an opportunity to escape some threat or pain. While I haven’t experienced them in my life, I have heard credible stories of people who really do not give in at any price. More importantly for these discussions, the phrase only applies to those men who are discovered so that they may be in a position to bargain.

My definition of zero value men (or men striving for zero value) concerns those who deliberate evade detection so they are never in this position in the first place. I describe such men as society’s villains. Certainly these do include malicious people who seek to leverage their hidden capabilities to extract some personal benefit. There is also a villainy of hiding capabilities (or failing to develop capabilities) so that they may never be exercised at all in order to avoid commitments of future obligations in either direction. Villainy includes the deliberate hoarding of ones capabilities and deliberate neglect in developing ones potentials.

In recent posts, I described how there could be some philosophical or religious justification for pursuing zero value. Such justification counters the incentives to pursue high value. Men can justify their choosing to pursue either zero or high value.

The zero value man, the villain in this discussion, is unknown and undiscoverable by anyone who may have an interest in his services. To be so invisible, a man must make deliberate efforts to avoid detection. As information age matures with ever more data collection and back-end data mining, there are ever fewer options for the man to continue to escape detection.

The zero-value man’s success in being undetected necessarily constrains what he can do. I used the example of a reluctant Superman who will be discovered as existing (even if no one knows how to contact him) once he exercises his capabilities on other people. To remain undetected, he needs to avoid exposing even a hint of his capabilities to others.

This restraint on his options inevitably opens opportunities for his exploitation by others. I described in last post the example of someone taking advantage of a man’s lack of support network and alibis to redirect blame for some criminal activity. Examples like this one requires that that the near-zero value man be discovered.

Value may also be extracted from zero value men even if they are not individually detected. Using analysis of large datasets, we can estimate the prevalence of near-zero value men within certain populations. Using this data, we can predict what that segment of population in response to some action. For example, we have confidence that this man will unlikely rebel against some injustice because doing so will expose himself and likely his talents. Knowing the prevalence of near-zero value men allows governments to estimate the difficulties of implementing tyrannical actions.

A recent example is the government response to the pandemic. The government had amazing success at getting public to give up their rights in terms of business restrictions, social distancing, enforced mask wearing, testing, contact tracing, and eventually mandatory vaccination. They have done all of this with the flimsiest of evidence that either of these are necessary, effective, or safe. Very few men challenged even one of these actions. Given evidence of past outbreaks of similar impacts, I’m confident that earlier generations would not have tolerated any of this. The current lack of objections from high-value men suggests we may have a higher than normal prevalence of zero value men than in the past.

For sake of this discussion, I’ll set aside the alternative explanation is that the high-value networks have become thoroughly corrupted to enable this to continue. There may be a correspondence of the success in medical tyranny and the abundance of zero-value men in society. These actions are suspiciously consistent across all governments and within all levels of each government. A sizable portion of zero value men may be hiding behind government positions, they can hid their capabilities by simply agreeing to whatever is proposed, immediately granting his official approval that was supposed to be independent.

The characteristic of a zero value man is his desire to avoid detection. An obvious place to look for zero value is where low income or low wealth people may be found. A good strategy for evasion would be to hide within positions associated with higher value. Positions within government are the ideal places for zero-value men to hide.

The zero-value man deliberately avoids drawing attention to himself. Any type of conflict will force out of him an action that can expose his capabilities. I mentioned earlier how high-value men deliberately market themselves. Marketing can also be accidental. People notice displays of capability. Raising even the mildest objections will risk having someone challenge that objection, and that results in the predicament of either defending the position or of providing a face-saving rationalization for the mistake. Either one will expose capability and talent.

To avoid detection, the best option is to agree with everything. This does not expose the zero-value intention because everyone will presume that the proposal was valid enough to receive the approval implied by the position held by the zero-value man. He continues his zero-value existence, waiting out the clock to when he expires from this existence.

Society can exploit the zero value man even without knowing their identity. This can happen two ways:

  • The knowledge of the existence and prevalence of zero-value men provides confidence for certain actors to push their agendas.
  • The lack of due diligence and lack of fidelity to their duties will allow rapid changes to happen even if the changes are accidental and without any assessment of their ultimate impacts.

In previous posts such as this one, I described a government by data and urgency and named it a dedomenocracy. In contrast to more deliberative government structures, a dedomenocracy specifically excludes human inputs to policy-making triggered by some expression of urgency within the population. My concept is inherently libertarian in nature because of the focus on data collection that prioritizes clean data about human behavior unbiased by government policies. It is a punctuated liberty where the dedomenocracy has absolute authoritarian rule for the policies it creates.

Unlike the current government, the dedomenocracy policies are necessarily short-lived in order to restore the liberty that will permit collecting clean data again. Also, a dedomenocracy created policies based on preapproved algorithms. Humans may approve the algorithms, but they have no say and no veto over the policies that come out of those algorithms. The algorithms will consider all data with pre-determined weights on what is ultimately important. The result is that the algorithm is free to choose policies that may be completely irrelevant to the current urgency. Instead, it may find the current urgency a convenient opportunity to implement some long held desired outcome.

In my earlier musings, I thought that such a government would require some kind of formal overthrow and replacement of government. I imagined it would be necessary to have a constitutional convention with a ratification process to get the public’s approval for this kind of government. As a result, I was confident that this would be a fantasy government.

What is currently unfolding is very much like this fantasy government, at least in terms of the authoritarian enforcement of arbitrary rules in response to an urgency. The missing element is the short-lived policies, policies with an expiration date.

I didn’t consider the possibility that a dedomenocracy could occur by the deliberate acquiescence of men trusted to give approvals in their areas of responsibility. When given the opportunity to object on an proposal that conflicts with their expertise, they instead remain silent and immediately grant approval when requested.

The actual path to dedomenocracy may be playing out right now. No requirements for revolutions, constitutional conventions, ratifications. All that was required is to populate high-value positions with zero-value men to the extent the position is held by a man at all. In the current government, the algorithm’s policies gains immediate approval even if the policies are irrational to human reason. Zero value man will not object or veto because doing so will expose their capabilities that they want to hide. In particular, their capability of making a compelling argument to the contrary would commit their future personal exertions to to follow through with that argument.

As described in previous posts, the zero value man has the goal of leaving this life with as little participation in the market as possible. There is an obsession of the end state that is death or at least retirement. As either or both objectives approach nearer, they will be more relaxed in their zero-value pursuits. They will become the ultimate yes-men. Retirement is so close.

High value men would never lead a revolution for a true dedomenocracy, nor would they support a constitutional convention and ratification. A true dedomenocracy robs them of their opportunity of value because all policies are determined by algorithms indifferent to their positions or influences.

The revolution, if any were to occur, would be to restore the earlier government by men of high value, men willing and able to speak out, exercise their excellences, and fulfill the trust given to them.

The revolution would be to push out the zero-value men to areas where they can do no harm through their inaction. Lacking that revolution, we’ll continue to be ruled by inhuman algorithms enforced by obedient actors who dare not object.

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