Sunday, July 22, 2018

Social Engineering: The Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, i360 and Social Science One

The socially conservative and economic libertarian Koch brothers are intent on SOCIAL ENGINEERING America in their vision.

Social engineering was developed in the early twentieth century as a means for controlling populations by engineering their aspirations, lifestyles, and day-to-day habits.

Social engineering in the early 20th century was described by Rachel Lemov in her fantastic book, World as Laboratory.

A book review at Anthropology Net succinctly captures the essence of Lemov's narrative:
Lexis Praxis.
The focus of the work is how the laboratory became the locus of power and authority, the fountain of knowledge for social scientists and governments alike, eventually contributing to an extension of the laboratory to world settings – so that the United States, as a colonial power, utilized whole peoples for experiments on the premise that human behavior could be understood, controlled, and even engineered on a massive scale.
Social engineering was never as easily implemented as advertised by hucksters such as Edward Bernays but the historical record demonstrates that support for controversial technologies (such as atomic weapons) and war itself were effectively propagandized, despite strong public resistance.

The film Human Resources describes how social science was weaponized to engineer consent:

Today, social scientists and those who pay their research grants have new tools at their disposal for engineering consent.

Social Science One is an academic-industry collaboration aimed at mapping public opinion for the purposes of social engineering society's problems, promoting "democracy," and supporting industry, as articulated one the site's blog:
Introducing “Social Science One: Building Industry-Academic Partnerships” July 11, 2018
On April 9, 2018, we released a paper, A New Model for Industry-Academic Partnerships. By providing incentive-compatible ways to share data and expertise, the paper offers an organizational model to advance the goals of social science in understanding and ameliorating society’s greatest challenges, and to help those in industry and academia to pursue their individual goals. We also reported on an implementation of our idea -- in the area of “the effects of social media on elections and democracy” -- to offer academics extensive (privacy preserving) data from Facebook; research funding from seven ideologically and substantively diverse nonprofit foundations; no pre-publication approval requirements; peer review and financial administration by the SSRC; and final decisions made by a commission of senior scholars (a few of the press releases: Facebook, SSRC, Hewlett).
The paper outlining the partnership model can be found here:
The research studies to be supported will no doubt be valid and reliable. The integrity of methodology is not the issue I'm raising here:

I'm more concerned about what types of questions are being asked and the deployments of research findings:
1. What motivations drive the questions asked and how are social problems framed (e.g., is poverty framed as caused by a "culture of poverty" or by lack of "economic opportunity"?) 
2. What privacy implications derive from ultra-sophisticated mining of big data, coupled with highly targeted analysis of personal information? 
3. What deployments of research results by funding partners, especially the Koch brothers, can we expect from this unprecedented project of mapping and engineering the social field?
Social Science One will have access to unprecedented volumes of information posted by social media users.

The Social Science one collaboration is housed at Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science and is funded by the Koch Brothers, among others:
Douglas MacMillan (2018, July 11). Facebook gives researchers ‘full access’ for election studies. The Wall Street Journal,
Facebook Inc. FB 0.20% will give a newly formed group of academics “full access” to data on its 2.2 billion users for the purpose of identifying areas of research about the effects of social media on elections and democracy, the group said Wednesday.

Social Science One, a group formed earlier this year with backing from nonprofits including The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Charles Koch Foundation, said it would start accepting proposals from researchers for funding.
Social Science One resembles the name of the online system known as Scholar One used to manage the academic review process. The impartiality of the Scholar One system does not however seem to coincide with the likely deployments of conclusions generated by Social Science One research.

That research findings generated by Social Science One will be used for the purposes of social engineering is a foregone conclusion. The Koch brothers' organization, Americans for Prosperity, are currently deploying i360, a data service, that has allowed them to strategically exert leverage are targeted voters in order to turn their support from public transportation:
Hiroko Tabuchi (2018, June 19) How the Koch brothers are killing public transit projects across the country. The New York Times,
In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.

At the heart of their effort is a network of activists who use a sophisticated data service built by the Kochs, called i360, that helps them identify and rally voters who are inclined to their worldview. It is a particularly powerful version of the technologies used by major political parties.
i360 is a political weapon. The information that is published by Social Science One is going to be weaponized.

The types of research projects and objectives will be subtly influenced by the stated intention in the mission, which entails "ameliorating society’s greatest challenges, and to help those in industry and academia to pursue their individual goals."

For the Kock brothers, the "commons" - conceived most generally - is among society's greatest challenges so they are likely to fund research and deploy results with the intention of cultivating support for its elimination.

Today we are so much closer to Bernays' dream of engineering consent and a small group of individuals and organizations have aligned to help realize that dream....


  1. Over many centuries the Roman Catholic Church worked to create a certain kind of man and woman and were largely successful. It emphasized the importance of compassion, humility and service. It offered heaven as the reward and hell as a punishment. Meanwhile the Princes of Europe worked within this framework to hold on to their power. There were many very clever persons during all those centuries who figured human nature out such as Machiavelli, Augustine, Cardinal Richelieu, Aquinas . . . it is a very long list. The Church manipulated the Princes and the Princes manipulated the Church. And the end product was the 20th century.

    I am sure there were many. many persons down all those centuries who could easily out clever the Koch brothers as well as the industrious professors who will work away on Social Science One.

    Do we need to worry about 1360 which sounds like a medieval date around the time of the Black Death?

    Personally I have never been a fan of these brothers. But people with lots of money do not need to be attractive or have good ideas. Probably things do not go better with Koch.

    "You take Sally and I'll take Sue
    There ain't no difference between the two
    Cocaine, running all 'round my brain
    Headin' down Scott, turnin' up Main… "

    It could be argued that the Catholic Church has been the most successful institution in recorded history. What is its secret? Perhaps nothing works so well as that which deals with death and the thereafter. The Primal Fear of dissolution. The Koch brothers can offer money but not salvation. The British Empire had a great deal to offer but again not salvation. Thus you must offer people salvation in some form to win their permanent allegiance. The US Constitution does not mention the transcendent. It merely claims to provide a safe space in the welter of the universe.

  2. Engineered what? A third world country so corrupt, and filthy that a strongman had to take control

  3. It is true though. In The latest gallup poll on environmental issues, climate change not so high on the list. Of course, polls are a form of social manipulation and propaganda that have their own special place in american politics. Kinda like eletronic voting machines

  4. It is very fuked up to live in a fascist neoconservative shithole like this . The incredible amount of lies and delusion. The evil one will attack iran soon. The drums of hell are beating. It will probably be a nuclear attack. You see, we cannot have democracy or say in anything. It is all very complicated.


    ‘Dark Money’: How a Documentary Exposé Turned Corporate Electioneering Into a Chilling Thriller

    Kimberly Reed's deep dive into Montana's fight back against corporate money influence in elections is scary but also hopeful.

    Anne Thompson

    Jul 20, 2018 4:37 pm


    “Dark Money”

    The trick with any documentary about complex, arcane legal and political issues is to figure out a way to make them accessible to audiences. With her second feature film, Sundance pickup “Dark Money,” producer-director Kimberly Reed saw a way to engage moviegoers — by scaring them about the role of money in politics as well as offering hope.

    Born and raised in Montana, football quarterback Paul McKerrow began his transition to female after he went to college. Kimberly Reed’s 2008 debut “Prodigal Sons” detailed her journey back home to Helena for her 20th high school reunion. After producing “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” and “Paul Goodman Changed My Life,” she was so upset by the controversial Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, which allowed corporations unlimited spending in election campaigns, that she wanted to make a documentary about it. Two years later, she saw her way in.

    She had always paid attention to Montana politics, and realized that Montana was mounting a viable case that could not only challenge Citizens United but “perhaps repeal it,” she said. “Here’s how we can tell this abstract, financial story, where people can glaze over pretty quickly. I realized I had the access to tell the story.”

    Now the same thing was happening with outside corporate groups, many of them controlled by the billionaire Koch brothers, who were hand-picking candidates based on their willingness to tow the party line and vote with their anointed Republican power mongers. “It was rare to see money and politics actually have a clash,” said Reed. “Here was a dramatic clash where you could see the lay of the land. I was in it for the long haul.”

  6. Much of what u are talking about has gone beyond sengineering and is force, election rigging and coercement. There are thugs ,kids in cages , huge open ghettos. The fact that a chaotic public is allowing itself to be manipulated so badly is sik

  7. You know the fuks are evil they are nuclearists too and have started uranium extraction and a newlarge wave of nuclear death across america.

  8. "10 WORST Countries People Live In "

    You may be living in one of these nations. According to Anonymous above,
    'It is very fuked up to live in a fascist neoconservative shithole like this . The incredible amount of lies and delusion. The evil one will attack iran soon."

  9. Oh fuck off troll goon. Yur dementia shows what a shithole it is. Go move down to rocky flats lying evil sak of shit

    1. I'm guessing you live in South Sudan. The accent gives you away!

  10. I can tell that English is not your first language; perhaps you had some schooling but are mostly Internet "educated". I was just kidding about Sudan--but some very difficult environment where you got very little kindly attention or nurturing. Your using Anonymous suggests a lot of fear. Your constantly lashing out is like a mistreated puppy that becomes a biter. Snarling and growling around strangers. Very hard to get the adult dog out of that behavior. Hard wired to treat the world as an enemy, a threat. Americans have much to be grateful for . . . just watch the video and see how bad it can be elsewhere.

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  12. It is interesting how controlled media is now. No mention of yemen. They seĺl the line of how close the trump thing is to putin, when trumps admin gives billions to it ruasias arch enemy ukraine and military support. Th hardcore neoconservative trump.regime is also beating the drums of war with russian client and buffer state iran and it will probaby be a nuclear war. The dnc pushes its neoconsrvative propaganda that trump is so close to russia. Ithis country is just a totalitarian dystopian hellhole. A corporate state where they actally taunt us and torure is with sick misinformation , propaganda and blatantant lies constantly. We also have the shapest rise in infant and child mortality rate in the world now. Many reactors close to going off. Many common going to heck. And everything else

    1. yes Yemen has dropped off the pages of the major news media. Now why would that be happening?

  13. Its because trump et al are actively sending large bombing missions to.yemen and off the coast of iran and to islands there. And the goddamned democrats and media are silent. They encourage it with the republicans and tell us the crazy shit that trump is in with the russians. Does not get any worse. Bush-cheney promised a nuclear attack on iran.
    This will not be a planned war like iraq. It will be one of the most grotesque, bloody ugly things possible. It will effect or children here severely. God knows how many refugeees and what unimaginable shape many will be in. Could go to war w russia.

    We now have the sharpest rise in infant and child mortality rate in the world. Open tuburculosis and diptheria rideen tent cities in major cities where chlidren are forced to growup.
    There are Many reactors close to going off.  Many commons going to heck: Open pit uranium mines in national monuments and oil rigs in nat parks. The most radioactive contaminated water in the world.

  14. Social engineering is an attack hackers used to steal valuable information from us by manipulating and getting our data. so we can protect in an efficient way


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