Friday, December 25, 2020

Vatican Bank Brings You Seasons Greetings: Blockchain-Linked Impact Bonds - Vatican Catching Up to Blockchain Technology - Yahweh Baby, Just Include the Impact Bonds! - Popey and the Holy Men Are Into Digital Bondage - Is the Divine Digital or Analog?

Editor's note: The new financial instruments the Vatican is behind are known as impact bonds. Impact bonds (IBs) are outcomes-based contracts. IBs use private funding from investors to cover the upfront capital required for a provider to set up and deliver a service. The service is designed to achieve measurable outcomes specified by the commissioner. Once the impact bonds are linked up to blockchain technology, every outcome you can possibly imagine will be excruciatingly monitored down to the last detail for performance on contracts. When you read this material know that the Rothschild banking scions took over the Vatican's banking investments in about 1823. 

The investor is repaid only if these outcomes are achieved. The Vatican Bank is a key player in global impact investing. Listen to the nun in the clip below: "The church is excited to be the conscience of big business." It will be just like 15th century Florence with the Bishops in charge of the big books of moral economic decision making. All this was set up by the Mendoza Business School at the Catholic University at Notre Dame in Indiana. How does "theocratic techno fascism" sound? 

Readers are asked to go to the first minute or so of this clip of Popey at the Vatican with who are presumed to be two bishops: one on the right and one on the left. Have a good look at the holy man on Popey's left clasping his hands and looking holy and humble while looking down in what appears to be a contemplative stare. Now consider the guy as a Vatican banker going over in his mind ROI on children for the Vatican Bank's impact bonds linked to the blockchain in "digital bondage." Is the humble benevolent holy-looking dude contemplating A.I. brain hacks to bring us into the hive?


Source: WrenchInTheGears

Doctrine of Discovery Redux: The Vatican's Plans For Impact Investing

I watched the video of Helen Alford's talk months ago, and I still can't get it out of my head. A Dominican nun trained in "human-centered technology" who holds a PhD in engineering management from Cambridge regaling a room full of aspiring impact investors on how the Catholic church plans to be the conscience of big business in the coming decades. Even though she notes there are many peace and justice folks who believe wading into human capital impact investing is akin to taking up with the devil, well…circumstances require it, so better just get with the program.

Alford goes on to say how excited she is that the Church will be at the center of social innovation over the next twenty years; it'll be just like fifteenth century Florence. She describes bishops using innovative approaches to reduce big manuals of moral economic decision-making, which to me smacks frighteningly of religious Blockchain smart contracts. This moment of existential crisis brought on by climate catastrophe and economic uncertainty appears to be the perfect window of opportunity for the Catholic church to usher in a new age of evangelism. Their leaders intend to tap lay people worldwide to spread the church’s teachings through politics, economics and technology.

This truly feels like the logical extension of the Doctrine of Discovery, white western Christianity calling dibs on a dawning age of cloud-based extractivism. Once again the rich and powerful draw up plans to prey on Black and Brown communities, taking resources that are not theirs, extinguishing lives, and erasing cultures. Just as adoption of double-entry bookkeeping in 1494 coincided with expansion of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, so now does the roll out of self-sovereign identity and Blockchain public benefit systems coincide with new forms of digital bondage that have been devised by financiers intent trading in life outcomes of the poor. This time instead of of shackles and whips, those in power plan to exert their domination using Big Data, machine learning, "smart" environments, predictive analytics, algorithms and behavioral economic nudges. Such is the brutal business of human capital finance.

The conference at which Alford presented was held at the Vatican on June 16-18, 2014. I touched upon Sir Ronald Cohen's participation here. It was the first of three biennial social impact conferences co-hosted by Catholic Relief Services, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame has the largest endowment of any Catholic institution of higher education in the United States and is in the top tier of schools nationwide (source). Scott Malpass, appointed an advisor to the Vatican Bank in 2017, knows $8.7 billion is a lot of capital to keep in motion. Supposed "anti-poverty" initiatives that enable the church to advance its missionary purpose while controlling potentially volatile populations probably look like a pretty attractive "social impact" investment option. It's not surprising the business school would be interested in growing this sector.

Notre Dame also hosts several programs advancing wireless technology, smart sensors, and social network signals intelligence project underwritten by defense and scientific interests. Of course such systems represent critical infrastructure needed to generate and manage real time data flows for speculative human capital investment. South Bend, the home of Notre Dame, is also home to Pete Buttigieg, a darling of the neoliberal think tank crowd. Buttigieg saw the creation of a "City of Lifelong Learning" pilot program in South Bend, a cradle to gray workforce development effort led by the Drucker (Peter) Institute, with distinct social impact investing overtones.

Go here for a larger version. Interactive map of above here

The idea for the first Vatican impact investing conference, "Investing for the Poor: How Impact Investing Can Serve The Common Good In Light Of Evangelii Gaudium," was originally pitched by Dr. Carolyn Woo, a professor of global business currently working at Purdue. Woo served as the dean of the Notre Dame business school from 1997 to 2011, then led Catholic Relief Services from 2012 to 2016 (she served on the CRS board from 2004-2010). Purdue was the first university to pilot income sharing agreements (Back a Boiler), has launched a global online degree program, and is a partner in Skillful Indiana. Social impact investments in ed-tech and digital skills training certainly sync with her university's goals. Another Notre-Dame affiliate who participated in the conference was Roger Huang, a professor of global finance and long-time board member of a Baltimore-area Catholic health system.

There were many attendees, and I won't list them all, but I do want to point out two additional individuals of interest. The first is Tom Steyer of Farallon Capital Management, a protégé of Robert Rubin a Goldman Sachs guy who served as Treasury Secretary under Clinton. Steyer founded Beneficial Bank with his wife Kathryn Taylor and is a mover and shaker in Democratic circles. He's also a major force in the "Wrong Kind of Green" environmental movement. Tom's brother Jim Steyer founded Common Sense Media, a non-profit that vets online content for children and is funded by many ed-tech philanthropies including Omidyar Network. Margie Sullivan worked with Steyer at Farallon for over a decade having built a career in federal contracting working for HUD, Department of the Defense, and the Office of the US Trade Representative. After leaving Farallon, Sullivan landed at USAID. She now manages her own consulting firm.

Please go to WrenchInTheGears to read this entire line of discovery. 

The Mendoza College of Business was renamed in 2000 following a donation to Notre Dame by Tom Mendoza. Tom Mendoza was the former president and CEO of NetApp with a 2019 revenue of $6.15 billion. NetApp purchased the Israel technology firm Spot for $450 million in September, 2020. It means Israel is deep inside NetApp. NetApp is what is called a "hybrid" cloud data services and data management company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.


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