Friday, September 16, 2016

The Enemy Within, Part 1 - Neoliberalism: “co-working” in the 'sharing economy'

A fundamental issue related to the problem addressed on this blog with respect to the infiltration of covert state actors (工作者) into civil society (市民社会) is that the government in a Constitutional democracy is designed and established as a neutral mediating authority between private parties, i.e., citizens, corporations, etc. That is to say, the government is no longer playing the role of neutral mediating authority when it introduces covert state actors into civil society in any of various guises, because of any number of illicit side-effects that adversely impact the lives of citizens in civil society. Distorting the market in any given sector, for example, can result in direct economic harms to the livelihood of citizens working in that sector. The introduction of pseudo-cultural figures and their promotion through media outlets indirectly controlled by the government has an adverse impact on the production and circulation of culture, and undermines the ability of authentic producers of culture to earn their rightful livelihood.
 This question, which falls within the ambit of social and political theory is obviously too multifaceted and expansive to cover in a single blogpost—or even on a blog per se—but there are aspects that can be elaborated upon and illicit government actions elucidated.

Co-working, as the name implies, is part and parcel of the co-called “sharing economy”, which is merely a trendy neoliberal meme being promoted by Wall St. and the neoliberal think tanks they fund in order to influence the adoption of policies that support their “investment strategies” (i.e., eliminate risk from the equation, for example).

Though I’ve been to preoccupied to re-post a version of the original that was taken down (http://kyoto-inside-out.blogspot.jp/2015/08/the-enemy-within-part-1-neoliberalism.html), apparently after a complaint by former finance sector executive Christian Lengelle, (http://kyoto-inside-out.blogspot.jp/2015/09/who-is-christian-lengelle.html) in the interim, I did manage to repost the information about Lengelle, Stephan Vogely, Paul Crouse, Derrick Tran, etc., so this blog entry will emphasize more of the “pseudo-startup” aspect that I addressed with respect to Vogely (http://kyoto-inside-out.blogspot.jp/2015/08/who-are-stephane-vogley-paul-crouse.html). I have been aware of the co-working scenario for several years since an individual from Hong Kong/Singapore names Tong Cheuk Fung started a co-working space in Kyoto called “47Ronin” (http://web.archive.org/web/20150315162455/http://www.47ronin.co/) and set up a corresponding promotional Facebook group called “Global Coworking Community @ Kyoto” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/280348228764781/), which I promptly joined (https://www.facebook.com/groups/280348228764781/members/)



at about the same time that the Japan Times started running articles about the phenomenon: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/28/national/sharing-working-spaces-and-ideas-members-chase-new-opportunities/.

That is to say, here was always much more to be said on that, even with respect to Kyoto. It bears noting in advance that Derrick Tran (https://www.facebook.com/47ronincoworking/photos/a.333779523414221.1073741831.328295020629338/340409629417877/?type=3&theater) and Jonathan Levy (https://www.facebook.com/47ronincoworking/photos/a.333779523414221.1073741831.328295020629338/337528046372702/?type=3&theater,
https://www.facebook.com/47ronincoworking/photos/a.333779523414221.1073741831.328295020629338/338754929583347/?type=3&theater)—both of whom have been described on this blog and in the lawsuit filed with the D.C. District Court—appear on the idle but still active FB group page still operated by Fung, typical of the mutually supportive networking I’ve documented. Here, it bears noting that the last entry at the top of that group’s discussion page is from 2013, as the group promptly went inactive after I joined, and other co-working spaces from a sudden mushrooming thereof closed their English language websites and shut down in Kyoto. For example, see the following, which will be examined in more detail in the future:

A farcical bit of promotion:
https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-coworking-spaces-in-Japan
and another ("booming"; who is Kenshin Fujiwara?):
https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-coworking-scene-in-Japan
Pointing to yet another defunct website:
http://coworkingkyoto.com/
Fortunately, that site was also archived, and is an important source:
http://web.archive.org/web/20140301060108/http://coworkingkyoto.com/
That is Kyoto, but even in Tokyo, this article promoting coworking spaces:
https://www.techinasia.com/quick-guide-tokyos-tech-startup-scene
had to qualify their promotion with the following note specifying that at least 4 of the 13 listed on the website to which they provided a link:
https://www.odigo.travel/trips/55acb9fe69702d1931080000
were no longer in business:

Note: While this list is the most comprehensive we could find, we ran a quick check and found that these co-working spaces are currently closed: Bees, 01Booster, CSS Space, and Shinjuku Travelers Coworking. We advise you to contact the respective co-working spaces beforehand to ensure that you don’t make a wasted trip!
What has me working on this material presently instead of working on the draft Brief for the appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court is that a couple of weeks ago, the Japan Times deleted a Disqus comment:


I made on an article from Bloomberg that they used on their website (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/04/business/corporate-business/u-s-venture-firm-aims-to-break-corporate-hold-on-japanese-startups/) promoting an individual named James Riney in his mid-20s with insufficient background or continuum establishing a reasonable trajectory to his present occupational status. According to the Japan Times (Bloomberg) article, 1 of 6 companies he has invested in as head of VC firm 500 Startups Japan is a “co-working space startup” (which he apparently has not named publicly). The combination of the above in relation to the young celebrity VC capitalist puts him squarely under scrutiny as a suspected CIA officer, given the experiences I’ve had here in Japan with foreigner finance types, as set forth on this blog to some extent. I have examined a fair amount of the flotsam and jetsam strewn across the internet about Riney, and the contradictions appear to be convincing, but will require substantial elaboration due to the nature of the time frames, multiple websites and connected individuals, etc.

Before even laying out the scant biographical information about James Riney available in print online, here is a link to audio recording of a professionally conducted 35-minute an interview that reveals some pertinent details (http://www.disruptingjapan.com/why-japanese-vcs-are-losing-out-james-riney-of-500-startups/on a website called “disrupting JAPAN” .

There is a transcript of the interview, but the audio must be listened to as well. At the start, the then 26 year-old Riney tells us that he lived in Japan until he was 12 years old and moved to Florida. He tells us that he knew right away that investment banking wasn’t for him after he started working at J.P. Morgan in Japan after graduating from college (in 2011 according to his LinkedIn page). On his LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesrineythere are obvious discrepancies in the timeline, which become even more conspicuous with reference to interviews and the like. He claims to have worked for J.P. Morgan (July 2010 – October 2012) before he graduated from college (2007 – 2011), and appears contradicts the content of interviews, etc.

Because this stuff is keeping me awake at night, and it is once again past 7 AM in the morning (redundant, I know), I’m going to serve up this preliminary post, hoping it will give me a little peace of mind. The Japan Times really needs to stop deleting every comment I make in which I mention the CIA.


I already have 20 pages of material compiled, and with respect to Riney, the following lists some of the links with pertinent content related to his and his cohorts inconsistent and contradictory representations about their enterprises and relationships:
http://storys.jp/megumi.ishiyama


Naturally, it will be interesting to see if any attempted changes are made to the relevant webpages that are active as opposed to archived. It would be useful to compare and contrast the versions I've manually archived with any revisions made in the interim.




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