University of the Channel Islands: A Prototype for Invention into the Archipelago of Infinite Fungibility
HOW TO DESTROY APPLE
Apple is currently valued at just shy of a trillion dollars, currently the world’s most valuable company. Part of their value comes from selling products that people like, which do things that people like to do, and that look the way that people like things to look. This makes them a lot of money. However, they also do it through tax avoidance. In 2014 apple paid 0.005% of its revenue in taxes to the Irish government. This revenue was generated from products it sold outside of the United States. An arrangement made possible because even though Apple is based in California, it has numerous international subsidiaries, believed to hold most of Apple's massive $252b overseas cash hoard.
In fact, apple as almost one hundred subsidiaries, most benign, but all of which detail a very complex tax evasion strategy, whose primary purpose is capital gain through an ever increasing, yet ever more fragile fungibility of their cash flow.
Beginning with a man named André Sousan in 1978 who offered to run an arms length company for apple in Europe to sell computers with PAL transcoders, the company for which looked like this and which was owned by a shell company naturally;
Transitioning to the 80s to the opening of apples factory facilities and distribution network in cork, Ireland. Which looked kind of like this;
And eventually becoming an incredibly globalized network of financial transference which is stateless and untaxed. Which apparently looks like this; or this. But what is important to know here is that it doesn’t actually look this at all.
This became known to most people through the panama papers leak in 2016 when this document made its way out of Appleby and into the hands of the media. Which reveals a strategy by Apple, through which we can learn a whole lot about how global tax evasion for transnational corporations work today and particularly about apples search for a new tax shelter once Ireland famously was unable to provide a 0.005% tax rate after the EU informed them that was tantamount to illegal state aid.
It was from here that I was able to look more deeply into apple to see that their network of subsidiaries is global operating in; into their hundreds of companies, the complex tangle of lies, but also of the locations, and architectures which constituted them, and finally of the apples which their companies were names after like Braeburn, Brambly General and Akane, a personal favourite, a tasty early season apple.
After Apple got in trouble, see lawsuit, that aforementioned document and found a tiny little wind-swept island in the ocean. Jersey, or rather the bailiwick of jersey crown dependancy where they setup shop in a small office along with hundreds of thousands of other companies, at 13-14 Esplanade in the office of Appleby through which they apparently received no benefits but still made tons of money in a system that I like to call the archipelago of infinite fungibility which reveals a system that looks a lot more like this, as you can tell here.
What the apple case study revealed was that cities were bleeding out due to the transcendence of the regulated market by companies like apple, as little to no corporate tax revenue gets reinvested back into city governments. But also that the system which caused this bleed out to happen so effectively was made up of many specific architectures; buildings which acted as alibis, of conceptions of money as a mobile good, of corporate bonds and investor returns, and of highly specialized jurisdictions, each with a role to play in apples capital utopia.
Intervention can take many forms, but when dealing with an apparatus as exceedingly complex as apple, the intervention must actually take on as many forms as possible. Dealing with apple means that its necessary to create a system which operates on numerous jurisdictional levels at once.
The University of the Channel Islands offers an alternative; a way to intervene in the rise of the Corpocracy. It is a prototype for how jurisdictions can find a way out of the offshore techno-utopia; a blueprint for how they can regain agency through highly localized interventions which focus on the specific architectures and urban processes which the global financial industry uses to take root or is already germinating in. By focusing on highly specialized departments of knowledge-gain oriented around these spatial environments and processes, using the island of Jersey as both case-study and testbed, students will pull knowledge from the surrounding city and its highly specialized economies and histories, and researchers will construct new speculations for its futures. The university offers new possibilities for knowledge expansion through intensive co-operative education, placing students within the very industries in which they study, using the aforementioned sites to extract and reveal the vital resource which protects the global financial system; secrecy.
The primary directive of the university is thus to consume this opacity, to keep the host alive and healthy while reaching deep within its processes, until the system shrinks back from the site in which it has taken hold. Students direct from Jersey high schools will mix with international scholars to assume part of the labour force of this economy, to learn by doing, to act through mimesis. As these sites offer one dimension of the education, another will be the playing out in interdisciplinary seminars and the development of a rhetoric of radical transformation and the language of parasitic espionage. While incredibly decentralized, the institution will rely on the same digital hyper connectivity and opacity in order to obscure its effects upon the industries which it operates in, slowly starving them of their diet of furtive discretion.
DESCRIPTION OF COMPONENTS
Initial enrolment for the school will be students from abroad. A demographic consisting of students in areas where the results of the rising corpocracy are manifest; cities such as Toronto, San Francisco or NYC. These students will operate in pods, tiny chambers made of inflatable walls, a rolled metal tubing structure, and large couples on each end. These chambers are produced quickly in the university assembly facility , and mounted quickly using mobile cranes, frequently in the dead of night. With the pods come new interns as students don the clothing of the workplaces in which their studies take place. Ready to work and indistinguishable from the other employees which circulate the financial industry, their primary purposes are superficially to get coffee, create reports, and analyze trends, but upon their end of their shifts they return to the pods and upload data to the library, for later close study and review. These pods proliferate across the city, and due to the compactness of St Helier, new connections can be created between them, allowing for similar workplaces to be conjoined for more efficient movement between buildings.
However, for the university to grow it will require more locally knowledge vehicles/labourers/students. This entire system depends on students which we can also understand as its primary labour force, Jersey currently has no University, and thus lacks not only an academic institution but also diverse job prospects. Financial firms in jersey take students direct from high school, constantly present in few schools that exist in jersey and similarly with constant goodies. There are two options here, leave or get a job in the financial industry.
The university thus presents new industries, not only in studying and teaching knowledge, but of manufacturing and mobilizing it.These students will be solicited from regular high schools, until such a time that dedicated high schools can be constructed which focus their education through curriculum and design for the parasite economy.
After the clandestine operations of the students workday come to an end, the students meet to discuss their findings in mobile inflatable seminar rooms atop flatbed trucks in a continual rotation. A necessary device of cloaking in a territory of homogeneous socio-cultural performances. However, the university does show its operations over time, as growth allows it to operate from not only outside of, and within, but also adjacent to, above, underneath. As the pods proliferate across the physical surfaces of the financial industry, the hosts, exhausted, leave their sites, moving to other jurisdictions, or slowly collapsing inward. Cranes facilitate the rapid deployment of the pods, The first one is installed with the retreat of the first hedge fund.
These operations are managed at the NOC Centre, a system-wide monitoring pan-optic facility at the confluence of the financial and cultural districts of jersey. The now centre also manages the universities abroad operations over the ocean.
The water has been, and continues to be an important domain for the offshore, operating as both a physical and metaphorical space of transit. St. Helier’s location enables the University to operate a system of support and dissemination. So, in tandem with the operation in the terrestrial territory of the direct knowledge sites, the ocean becomes the place where this knowledge becomes de-territorialized, de-coupled, and de-shored.
This takes three parts, as the the knowledge is moved from pod to seminar room, it then moves from seminar room to the offshore data centre, and from there to the franchise libraries, but also back to the the shore of jersey itself into other seminar rooms. The franchise libraries are a special component of the system, they are the connective tissue between the data centres and to jurisdictions which house the university. These are the architecture of leasing an apparatus borrowed from offshore radio to facilitate the cheap spread of information while circumventing local laws from beyond the nautical territory zones. These franchise libraries thus allow the knowledge contained within to become territorially stateless and infinitely fungible as they spread across the globe connected by cable laying ships and avoiding the extant networks of the corpocracy.
Back onshore, Jersey rapidly changes,
Ad hoc wireless mesh networks emerge across the island as a way of communicating the leaks amongst the island. The network is mobilized again by trucks, moving covertly while allowing for network continuity all the way out to the offshore franchise libraries. The planning department becomes subsumed to facilitate its continued growth. These networks are supported by energy contributions to the grid by the university. Across the island, the university has begun to engage in the means of its own perpetuation, constructing franchise library ship building cranes, pod production assembly lines, computer factories.
The eventual increase in students will also bring with it new needs for housing, no doubt this housing will be provided by island developers in a high density fashion, but will also be temporarily provided in camps at the shore, and will ultimately be constructed into the platforms as time progresses. Later the cranes become useful for deploying pods on other sites, but also for reconstructing the downtown financial core in the wake of the hedge fund exodus, toward a useful matrix on which affordable homes, farms and businesses can be built on without expanding the university’s development into the protected environmental zone outside of the city. Informal markets, and more formalized spaces of community economics emerge in the leftover spaces of the city. The entire financial district is under siege, collapsing under a new parasitic economy.
The now healthy university, having outgrown its larval state (larval?), occupies the architectures and urban processes which it has liberated, replacing the invasive corprocratic capital-utopia with the university-city strengthened by its occupation of the agile and decentralized network-archipelago of the former. Replacing the extractive economy of the technocratic-urban with the additive economy of the knowledge-city, the University of the Channel islands has the promise of generating a truly egalitarian democratic order, funded once again by a prosperous system of the locally embedded marketplace.
As the system spreads from one jurisdiction node to the next, it becomes understood as a way of deconstructing corpocracy in general by severing precisely the locations in which capital is severed from local market economies. Theres is certainly an undercurrent of neoliberalism, of global capitalism bringing “change” to Jersey, and abroad to jurisdictions across the globe, but really its about turning the secrecy apparatus, the rhetoric of change, and the very real tools which bleed the public of resources back around on the system which created them.