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About me

Name: Ilja
Languages I speak: Nederlands/Dutch, English
Crew: West-Vlaanderen
Short bio: I've always had a vast interest in how things worked. As a kid I was often tinkering with electrical and electronic devices and later made my profession as a technician. Because of physical problems I had to quit my job a couple of years ago. When I was on healthcare for six months, I took the opportunity to study mathematics at KULAK (KU Leuven campus Kortrijk). This confronted me with new ideas, and more importantly, a more structured way of reasoning which forced me to re-evaluate everything I held to be true. When it became clear that I wouldn't be able to do my job any more, I decided to retrain myself as a programmer. By seeing how knowledge, data and information is created and shared, both in the mathematical, as in the scientific and IT world, and how new knowledge is found and new technologies are created by building upon this shared knowledge and technologies, I started to realise the potential that a more open and inclusive system can bring. I found the same ideas within the pirates and decided that this is a project I want to help support. -- This was written for journalist Flora Fosset for an article in Wilfried Magazine --

What interests me

  • free software alternatives for the current lock-in digital world. Specifically
    • yunohost, an operating system meant to make self hosting accessible
    • Pleroma, a social network platform that is part of the fediverse
    • Ubuntu Touch, an community developed operating system for mobile phones based on Ubuntu
  • Democracy
  • Mathematics

Current activities

  • I'm part of the IT-squad, helping out and learning where I can. The current activities are mostly maintaining and providing support for crews running yunohost
  • I try to attend the pirate labs as much as possible. Here people can share ideas, start new projects and generally work together to get things done
  • I'm honing my elixir programming skills by contributing to pleroma

Books and articles I want to share with the world

Jason Hickel, Less is more (book)

Economic anthropologist Jason Hickel talks about how we are seeing mass extinction and shows us how the current economical system, a system of perpetual growth, isn't only the reason, but also shows why we can't simply solve this problem within the system itself. E.g. counterintuitively maybe, being more efficiently doesn't make it that we tax nature less, the need for perpetual growth makes the current system use it's gain in efficiency to take even more from nature than it did before. Jason goes over the history of capitalism and how it's need for constant growth, mostly brought by externalising costs and starting by stealing from the commons, is bringing about the destruction of the world we are part of. The book is available in PDF-format for free.

David Graeber, Debt: the first 5000 years (book)

After the economical crisis in 2007 anthropologist David Graeber realised that, even though there is numerous research on the different forms of money that were used throughout history, there has never been a real study about the origin of debt. This study unexpectedly led him not only to the origin of debt, but also to the origin of money. Even in the 19th century anthropologists have said that there is no scientific basis for the hypotheses of Adam Smith that money came as a tool to help in the trading of goods and services, even though this is the story that is still widely taught in schools all over the world. Graeber gives a totally new origin story of money and shows that money, in fact, came before trade as a representation of debt. By going over the history of debt and money, Graeber also explains how our current monetary system came to be. It's a must read for everyone who wants to know more about the origin of money, or get a better insight in the modern monetary system, the problems that it brings, and what possible lessons history can tell us about this. These days the book is even available in PDF-format for free.

Money creation in the modern economy (article)

Money creation in the modern economy is an article from the 2014 Q1 quarterly bulletin from the Bank Of England. This article explains how money is currently created, and it also explains how quantitative easing works. From the beginning of the article: 'This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans.' and 'Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits.'
The reason why I think this article is so important is, firstly, because I believe this is important information to know, but also because I have noticed that people often find it hard to believe that this is how money is actually created and destroyed. This article doesn't only explains how money creation works, it is also a source that you can hardly contest. There's also an accompanying article Money in the modern economy: an introduction.

Joris Luyendijk, Dit kan niet waar zijn (book)

The book also has an English translation Swimming with Sharks (Faber Guardian).
Joris Luyendijk is a Dutch anthropologist who in 2011, after the economical crisis, went to the city of London to learn how the bank system, and more specific the people who worked inside the bank system, actually worked. He kept a blog on The Guardian about this and afterwards wrote this book about his experiences and what he had learned.

Peter Macfadyen, Flatpack Democracy (book)

Flatpack Democracy is a small, only 111 pages long, book writen by Peter Macfadyen. In this book he explains how he, together with a group of other people, implemented democracy in their little English village of Frome by founding their own local party, Independents for Frome, and getting elected. This book is both the story of how they formed and got elected, as well as a guide on how to do something like this yourself.
The reason why I like this book is because, even when there are so many interesting analysis on democratic systems, this is actually a very practical approach on how to get democracy, even within the current system.

Stand Still, Stay Silent (webcomic)

Because it doesn't always have to be serious :p This is a webcomic I have been following for a while now, and I think it's amazing! It's a post-apocalyptic story that has its setting in Scandinavia, Finland and Iceland. The author is Swedish-Finnish, the artwork is amazing, the comic is addictive, the humor is sometimes a bit quirky and it updates four times a week! The author, Minna, is also the creator of this beautiful language tree ^^