It seems that everywhere I turn, everyone wants to be a digital ‘nomad’.
- Launch an online store.
- Start an affiliate business.
- Run a blog.
- Get a million twitter followers.
- Gain high authority links.
- Build a startup.
- Use a mac.
- Build apps.
- Earn adsense revenue.
- Help sell Amazon products.
They want to travel the world, to become one those cool people that ride a motor bike to the next surf spot in Bali.
Lets call this ‘persona‘ Max.
Max will boast about how he ‘liberated‘ himself from the 9-5 shackles of office life and how he will show you how to do the same!
Max will usually describe this old lifestyle as an abusive and control freak obsessed maniac that tied him to a pole and forced him to do sexual favours.
Max views technology as the answer to his liberated lifestyle.
I am just like Max, and the realization of this aswell as the implications that follow are sickening.
The catch is that its a zero sum game, when you look at it from a sufficiently macro level.
The one thing that most western educated millennials that have a hang on using “IT” in some way or shape to generate revenue fail to recognise is that their lifestyle is only possible because of the difference in social status on a global scale.
They never earned this disparity, rather it was men like John Perkins, who would blunder entire nations for a living.
To put it bluntly, 80% of the rest of the population of our pretty earth is in such deep poverty that any amount of money that Max can earn is their dream.
Even if Max simply became a free lance writer for a measly 3$/hour – which any 1st world citizen can easily become, he would earn what equals to 28$/day, 140$/week and 540$/month.
540$/month is literally an unfathomable dream to about 3 Billion people of our planet.
Think about that.
Max effortlessly earns this through elance, or he runs a website that makes him adsense/affiliate revenue and lives like a king in Bali. He spends 10 $ a day on food and beer and the rest on a little villa.
He feels like he found the god mode of our planet.
He is winning.
He is free!
Whats Wrong with That?
Why are you hating on Max? Leave him be. He is loving it. Not harming anyone.
Lets dig deeper into this matrix.
Raw Materials & Slave Labour
Lets start with the basics.
Max is using a laptop and cellphone that is made from raw materials like coltan that is covered in blood of entire nations like Congo.
What else? Water. Did you know it takes about 88 gallons of water to make a single laptop??
Heres the thing, those 88 gallons of water bought to make Max’s laptop are worth more than the fellow in Niger can pay for.
By purchasing that device Max outbids the poor guy and that water gets swooped right from under his nose. He cannot afford the water under his own feet.
This raw material is then shipped to a country like China where through literally slave labour its converted into a fancy shiny device which Max buys.
To sum up, Max’s technology purchases cause sever depravation for dozens of other human beings.
Max’s life work perpetuates more ‘tech’ purchases that all carry more of the same deprivation.
The exponential curve is clear.
Economic Value. Not Revenue or Profit
Now, with the very rare exception, a ‘digital nomad’ will be working on something superficial. He will not be working on real ‘TECHNOLOGY’ like Elon Musk. Pffft.
Ask Mr. Musk if he wants to be a digital nomad. He would beat you down with a tesla energy battery.
As the infamous Peter Thiel from the PayPal mafia once said, we imagined future with flying cars but instead we got a 140 characters.
Nothing that Max does creates any real economic value, it simply doesn’t. He will not manufacture a pot that someone can plant a tree in. He will not genetically modify a new strain of seed that will resist draughts in India.
He will not even be able to create a paper cup that you can drink water from.
Max will do something easy, that takes very little depth.
In most cases, Max will simply help someone somewhere sell something.
Granted, there is a place for that, and a need for that, but here is the catch – for every Max, there will be an order of magnitude of people who will do something physically.
So the only way in which Max could ‘help’ someone truly is to help them find something meaningful.
Useful. But without THAT meaningful thing existing in the first place, Max is irrelevant.
He only earns money because he helps to sell something made somewhere in China, or a room in a Hotel built by real people, through real labor.
Usually, most of the ‘Max’s’ of the world however will do something even MORE useless. They will blog.
Max will take pretty pictures of his free lifestyle in Bali and the rest of the ‘civilized‘ world will watch him, not really much different to a TV show.
He will ‘monetize‘ this blog in much the same way as TV used to do it. Ads. Affiliate links.
Essentially, he will help companies sell stuff to those other, ‘not yet liberated’ folk.
All this while he will pretend like by blogging he has changed the world.
To sum up, Max is MOST likely not inventing a cure for cancer, an alternative source of energy or even actually truly making someone elses life better.
Here is the sad reality. Very sad.
‘The best minds of our generation are figuring out a way for people to click ads somewhere’.
So what is Max doing?
Its very simple really, he is living a hedonistic lifestyle at the expense of a much bigger chunk of the poor people on our earth.
He is not ever going to do something that will truly change that situation, despite receiving an education that 90% of the population would kill for and there by joining the club of those who have the potential to be involved with something that would.
Max belongs to a ‘class’ of people who are in a position to do something meaningful & good. He is really smart. But he chooses to take the easiest path. Typical.
Max wants to earn money on ‘auto-pilot’ or doing as little as humanly possible. He wants to spend his earnings in places where the currency is worth a lot more, because that automatically makes him rich.
If the people of Thailand weren’t as poor, a Pad Thai dish and a Massage would not cost the equivalent of 15$. Ohhh my, what would Max do then.
Max fails to recognize that the only reason he is able to live this way is because of his luck in being born as one of THE billion, not the other 6.
This hysteria of the ‘liberation’ and ‘freedom’ of bloggers, remote workers, digital nomads and similar people is quite simply bad for our race.
Its basically a free for all party.
Its not a revolution.
Its not even evolution.
What we need is engineers, doctors, scientists. People that learn something so difficult few want to go that way. At the very least we need technology that helps those people do what they do.
That is the beginning of the end the way I see it.
The realization that I’m part of the problem, and not the solution is a powerful one.
On a final note, I have a question for every digital marketer, seo/smm ‘ninja’, every rockstar ‘blogger’and ‘startuper’ is this:
“What real benefit does what you do carry?”.
“How does it truly improve the life of another person, or our race as a whole”?
Unfortunately 95% of ‘us’ never ask this question.
Really, really, really should.