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The Internet has revolutionised the way we communicate and accumulate knowledge. Redistribution is a fast-paced thriller in which a virtual world becomes powerful enough to actually govern. The story is a dystopian vision of power, greed and retribution. Having sold his first online venture for a billion, Hoff's American Dream becomes a nightmare as he travels the world in search of self and is witness to unrelenting poverty and disease while his family are ticking the LA glamour lifestyle boxes of discrete affairs and branded luxury. Hoff's epiphany is meeting the charismatic, Angolan John. Hoff launches (Democratic Republic of the Internet) and it grows - first as a social website, then evolving through Artificial Intelligence into a system of redistribution. Gathering millions of people from all backgrounds it grows under the radar mainly as a voice for the forgotten third world. With its declaration that the 1426 billionaires in the world have to give up their wealth voluntarily or be e-trialed and e-executed, DRI's information bank is a technological monster on a feeding frenzy with superior software and capability than those of governments. Economic chaos ensues – governments fall, politicians and leaders are e-trialed and e-executed, economies collapse and the Americans, seeing their ubiquitous power base eroding, concoct a phony war against Iran.

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Chapter 1

‘I sat in McDonalds in Africa and I bought one thousand burgers because I could. I bought one thousand bags of fries because I wanted. I bought one thousand cokes because I was thirsty. Word spread and starving children filled the restaurant to see for themselves. One skeletal child came to me and looking at my mountain of burgers and fries with her huge brown eyes put out her hand and asked. Can I have a burger? Why should I? I said. They are mine. Who am I, you may wonder? I am no-one. I am a distributor. I packaged something for the corporate vultures that always want more. They coveted my useless business that created nothing and contributed nothing and they took it and they gave me lots of money. That is the moment when we are meant to celebrate achievement and go spend our spoils on more houses we can’t live in and yachts we can’t sail and we grow fat on excess and throw a few coins at the poor. But that was for me the moment of shame and realization. That for me was the moment I could no longer look into the eyes of my father. I looked up to him with pride and he looked down at me with pity and I did not understand. He asked me what I had achieved in three years and I had no answer. I was 30 years old with no future, having achieved it too young. Then I decided to use my wealth to see for myself and that is why I started it all. I now introduce myself to you all for the. I am the founder of DRI but I am now one in a billion. I planted the seed with no clear objective. Not for one second did I dream that the seed would grow organically into an e-government with an electorate of one billion. Now I am simply a servant and as senior Welfare distributor, it is my job as your e-EDRIO (Elected DRI Official) to inform you that e- DRI Operation Redistribution is to be launched today. We will emerge as the new ruling voice, the new e-government that has simply evolved over seven years. History is today being written by you and me. Remember this - the collective wealth of the richest 1426 Hyenas amounts to 8% of the total output of the world. It is incomprehensible that twenty people in every 100 million own 8% of the world’s total annual output out of a world population of 7,000,000,000. All of those 1426 billionaires out of a population of seven thousand million people could be moved into a small village by ten busloads in the middle of nowhere with more wealth than almost the entire wealth of any country. But we know that this cannot remain. We must start somewhere and so for now we will start with this. I know that the temptations of our technological world are greater than the will of the individual but together we can change it all. We have the greatest minds, the greatest soldiers with the same ambition. We are the new government of the world and it is our right to take back this world from the rich and corrupt. We are going to fight them with the monster they forced us to create. Remember that this is for our children and our children’s children and all the children of the future. A Tsunami of greed has degraded us all. The inequalities of wealth have grown. Social networking sites and applications have taken away our dignity. Everything is in the public domain. Reality TV has brainwashed our children to desire the undesirable and to covet the unachievable. A lottery win is neither an ambition nor an achievement. A Start-Up is not a worthy business for our children. The start-up is a plague infesting the minds of our children. The creation of something we do not need, a virtual business being bought by virtual people to be regurgitated on a bigger scale to our children caught up in this virtual world that we now live in. As I look in the mirror, I can look at myself for the first time in many years with a pride that I thought had been buried forever. I am honoured to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of the world. You know what you have to do. This mail must be deleted through Trashcan.’

I stood over the send button taking in the moment that would unleash the beginning of worldwide chaos and a new order but I could not send it. I knew what President Truman must have been feeling before he gave the order to unleash the bomb. It was the lesser of two evils for us both. There was no doubt in our minds that we had no choice so why was it so difficult. I went downstairs to get a drink. I called the lift but decided to walk. I was attracted to the noise in the kitchen. My wife and daughter were seated on opposite bar stools, tapping away on their keyboards on, talking to each other whilst their phones sat on the worktop buzzing every few seconds with messages from one or other of their social group Apps. They didn’t have time to look up. I stood in the doorway staring at them for some time. I allowed myself a speech that I would never give.

“I’m sorry for what you are feeling now. I’m sorry for the pain you are going through and I hope you will forgive me. I know what I have done to you but you will thank me. In the end you’ll know what really matters. I am not asking you to forgive me. I’ve done this for everyone, to make all our lives better. We have this house, this life because I made money. It was all a means to an end. The business I sold was not a business. I built nothing. I made no profit. There were no real jobs. We built a box with a concept in it and we wrapped it up in gold. We knew that everyone would want what was inside even though there was nothing in it. I didn’t build houses or heal the sick. I had an idea on Monday, an investment on Tuesday and I sold it on Wednesday. I just sold a link in the chain that is imprisoning us all simply for the sake of greed. I never dreamt about being an architect or a surgeon like dad. I dreamed only about getting rich like this new internet generation. Where is the nobility in this? Where is the pride? I want you sweetheart to grow up wanting to do something good where money is a bi-product and not an ambition. I want you to see that we don’t need excess to be happy. We still have enough. I have not spent it all. I have no issue with money or wealth. I respect the rich –the empire builders, the inventors, the entrepreneurs but I despise the money. I understand greed. I have been there all my life. I grew up surrounded by greed. I know the desire to have houses and cars and holidays and jewellery. I love the feeling of being surrounded by beautiful things, the thrill of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. These things are good. It is simply the feeling of having too much that I despise. I have an issue with excess, with the hoarders not the big spenders. Hoarding money that can never be spent. I just want a fairer world and that is why I did it. And now everyone will be a little richer and some like us will be a lot poorer and it’s not going to stop. One billion people have ‘supported’ us on our website. The viral world they created has turned on them. No jury in the world could convict me for redistributing. Not a single billionaire is free of guilt. We have files on every single one of them and information that could convict each and every one. This is a new world voice of one billion, the loudest voice that has ever been heard with a superior artificial intelligence. An e-government has evolved and that is something to be proud of.”

They didn’t hear and they didn’t see because they were at that moment, virtual. Were they a sacrifice worth making? I couldn’t allow myself to think like that and so I blocked that avenue for after. I went by lift back to the office and shut the door behind me. I opened my laptop and pushed ‘send’. The culmination of seven years’ work, travelling across the globe, e-meeting after e-meeting, meeting the hackers, the mercenaries, ex SAS and CIA, ex- army generals, the anarchists, the leakers, the politicians, the lawyers, the accountants, the bankers, the communists, the police, the farmers and the villagers. Intercontinental DRI meetings and one billion supporters later, we were ready. Not even now, at the moment of impact, did I understand what exactly had been unleashed. Of course, every now and then someone understood the unstoppable force and made the odd attempt to shut us down but nothing could match the power of numbers. The court systems everywhere upheld our right to exist. Nobody foresaw the enormity.

Tonight, the whole world will witness the emergence of the most powerful government in history. The whole world will witness a redistribution of wealth, unprecedented in history. The Voluntary Redistribution of the wealth of the 1426 Hyenas. Every detail, photographic and documentary, will be posted on It will expose pure corruption, political collusion, political alliance, military alliance, tax evasion, tax avoidance, duress, unfair practice, destruction of competition, acquisition of national assets, violence, bribery, murder, industrial espionage, reverse engineering – hundreds of creative, immoral and illegal ways to create a fortune and to hold on to that fortune. We will stir up hatred and we will redistribute.

Almost every country in the world has elected e-politicians, elected online in free and fair elections. Fair campaigns online for a fair government online - a pure international e-democracy with everyone equal. Distributor forums have been set up in 38 languages answering to one billion supporters, growing at a volcanic rate. We are a non-profit making e-government with unpaid politicians accounting to one billion voters with the current sole objective of redistributing wealth.

To: Distributors

Subject: e-DRI launch

‘DRI has attracted the best banking minds, forensic accountants, lawyers, computer, IT experts and hackers. Artificial Intelligence programmes have evolved. DRI has developed the most effective and sophisticated ways of amassing, recognising and organising information, the most evolved and complete process of redistributing the wealth of Hyenas. DRI has uncovered layer after layer of manipulation and deceit. We have found offshore and onshore methods of filtering wealth and avoiding tax. A web of complex means to amass more and pay out less, often legal and supported by corrupt or indebted government. Technological redistribution alone is not enough. DRI has the intelligence to track movement of money, to unravel financial deceit. Art, jewellery, antiques, property, cars, gold, property and other physical investment will be redistributed by DRI. The relevant Distribution Departments in each country will give their Hyenas the procedure. We have the mandate from you. We have pledged that at all costs, violence is not necessary. We need your support’. SEND

I was tired. I called down to Gallie and told her that I was upstairs working. She sent back a muffled, virtual response. I watched tv lying on the bed then showered. I felt calm and somewhat removed knowing that tomorrow was the beginning of the unknown but also knowing that nothing in my life would ever again be this calm and functional. I waited for her and as she entered, she smiled at me, the smile of a 17 year married couple who still cared for each other in an age-diluted way. I watched her undress. The ease with which she stood naked in front of me amazed me, unashamed of her age – a compliment to us I suppose. I could only see the young and beautiful woman I had married inside the body of the older woman she had become. The sagging breasts and enlarged buttocks were not hers. I loved her and I knew that I had betrayed her. We would never be the same again. She was oblivious to it all for now and that hurt because she deserved better.

“Gallie, can I ask you something?”

“Sounds ominous. What is it? I know something has been bothering you. Is it work?”

“Yes it is work but that doesn’t matter now.”

“What do you mean? – That doesn’t matter ‘now’. Goris what’s going on? Oh my God, please don’t tell me it’s another woman! Please don’t be so obvious. You’re better than that. Goris?”

“No it’s not another woman. It would be easier if it were. Please just listen. Do you have any idea what I’ve been doing since I sold the business? No you don’t. Why have you never shown real interest?”

“I’ve asked you so many times but I knew that you didn’t really want to involve me in your stuff. Goris I’ve always let you come to me in your own time. That’s why we work and I couldn’t take the preaching. I always thought it was better that we didn’t know everything about each other. You know that. What’s wrong with you? You’re beginning to worry me. You’ve been acting so odd recently and I’m not the only one who’s noticed it. Jazzy says the same.”

“Listen Gallie I’m going to try to tell you something. I want you to sit down. Please. Do you know how much money I sold the company for?”

“Yes. And I was so proud of you. All your hard work. You deserved it.”

“And ‘that’ is the point. I did not deserve it. Why did I deserve to make an obscene amount of money? How exactly did I deserve it?”

“You had a fantastic idea and from that you had the talent to create something great. You built it up into a business and then everybody wanted it.”

“Really? Three years’ of work, if you can call it work? A Social Network platform is not a ‘great’ idea. It is borderline evil. It’s like a new sweet filled with poison.”

“That’s ridiculous. First of all it is not poisonous, it is simply a new world whether you approve or not and the fact that it took a few years is because of your talent. So if it had taken ten years, would that make it better?”

“It’s not that simple. It’s not about time. All I did was persuade some greedy bastard to invest in us. All of us, driven only by greed, put together something that we knew millions of children would like and sold it for obscene money. We made no profits. We didn’t care about profit. Why should we? It was never a business. Gallie, you know what I did every day. I had meetings and felt important. Meeting after meeting after meeting. Talking crap and feeling important. A constant feeling that you’re on the verge of something big where big meant money. It wasn’t a scientific breakthrough. We were just waiting for our numbers to come up. I wasn’t restructuring the public health system or researching the cure for cancer. I didn’t work every day of my life operating on the sick like my dad. What a sense of worth he must have had. He never doubted his motives. My dad didn’t have time for coffee and long lunches and meetings. He had real work to do. The day I saw the money in my account, I felt sick. It felt like blood money, dirty, stolen and not mine. I truly wished that the government had taxed 90% of it. I don’t have a problem with people getting rich but I do have a problem with excess and start-up wealth. How could one man spend more than a few million, a hundred million if you’re excessive? No single person has the right to such excess. I stopped seeing the Oligarchs and the billionaires and start-up pricks as business people a long time ago. Do you know that the combined wealth of a few busloads of billionaires is greater than the combined wealth of half the world’s population? These rich are hoarders with no conscience. They want the adoration for a few charitable foundations they set up but rest assured, they hold on to their wealth. Teams of lawyers and accountants trying to find ways to avoid tax. They’re the bully in the school playground, stealing all the sweets from all the other kids, never sharing and always taking.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you. It’s good to have a conscience so that you can appreciate what you have but we can’t change the world. Look where we live. Do you know how lucky we are? You should be so proud of yourself. You did something great. You created a global business. That’s amazing and there are millions of people who agree with me. Even if I agree with what you’re saying what is the point of feeling like this. You can’t change anything so enjoy what we have. You’re just having a bad day.”

“Actually I’m having a great day. The best day I’ve had in years. I feel free, worthy and for the first time in years, I can look my dad in the face.”

“What are you talking about? You’re worrying me. What’s going on?”

“I’m trying to tell you. I’ve tried to tell you many times but you didn’t want to know. You were too busy spending more and more money on more and more things we didn’t need but that was ok because we had more money than we could ever spend. I mean, how many houses and cars and holidays and clothes and phones can one family have? You don’t have a clue what I’ve been doing for the last seven years. Investing – that’s what you assume. “

“Then if you were investing, why the crisis of conscience now?”

“The crisis of conscience has long gone because I have been spending on something that made me feel better about me and not for monetary gain. I’m sure you know DRI.Com.”

“What are you talking about? DRI is that ridiculous anarchist’s website. What’s that got to do with you? “

“Absolutely everything.”

“Don’t be so stupid. I’ve been on the site. It’s some sort of information website and forum for the loony left. People who want destroy governments and redistribute wealth stuff. I heard it on the news I think. Jonathan Harvey was talking about the impact the site could have. Apparently it has more than one billion subscribers and no advertising. Imagine that. Imagine how much money they’ve lost? I hardly think you’d be welcome there. “

“Actually I am very welcome there. It’s my website and to set the record straight, I set it up so that people could talk about the unfairness of things, the redistribution of wealth but it evolved and took on a life of its own. Now it has nothing to do with me.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It was my idea, my money and all the lies you see in the news about the illusive owner, is about me. They think it’s an Iranian website, set up by the government to create world unrest and anti-feeling towards the excesses of the West. It’s incredible that the monster they created is now the monster they will have to account to. It has become an online international government. The CIA and FBI were too busy looking in the wrong direction. One billion people is an enormous number. Do you know how many of our subscribers come from these agencies, from armies and the police?”

“You know what Goris? I’ve had enough of this. I want to go. We are late. I think this is mad. Is it some sort of joke because it’s not funny? I don’t know what’s wrong with you. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Why are you doing this? Are you angry with me?”

“No, not really. Maybe, that you don’t believe me. The truth is that I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I feel like this but I do. Something changed in me. Maybe when I achieved everything I always thought I wanted and more, I realised it wasn’t what I wanted after all. To have that kind of money, having done nothing to deserve it and by the age of 30! What was I supposed to do? Make more money? Invest in start-ups? No thank you. Fuck that!”

“Ever since I first met you, you told me that you wanted to be rich. I liked it, that you knew what you wanted and you were so confident and I believed you. You have always loved money and now you want me to believe that you’re ashamed of the money you made and that a crackpot loss- making website is yours with one billion users. Let’s assume you’re telling the truth. What possible motive could you have? Let’s be real Goris. You said that it has one billion users and but some reason it has been an untapped revenue source. That’s a lot of lost revenue. Somehow that is not you. It is so obviously an Iranian government thing. Oh for god’s sake, you always do this, drag me into something that I have no interest in, fighting over something I don’t care about. I want to go.”

“Yes that’s all true but not now. How many people actually know what it feels like to achieve more than they ever dreamed possible? It used to be a slow accumulation of riches for most rich people. Years and years of building businesses and accruing wealth and with that time, a sense of pride and respect from others for what they had achieved. Maybe if I’d done it this way, I would be ok with it but for me and so many nowadays, it is a lottery win. When I got that money, everyone wanted a slice of it and I gave here and there. We both did. It made us feel better about ourselves for a while but I had a voice in my head, telling me it was wrong to keep the money when so many people were starving and sick and helpless and then all the places we went, the cruises, holidays in the Caribbean, and the news, the papers, the streets – everywhere and everything I saw and heard made me feel more and more guilty. Gallie I am sorry for what I’ve done to you and Jazzy. I really am. I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok. Can we go now? Goris are you listening? I know that whatever you’ve done, you didn’t mean to hurt us. Look I don’t know what you’ve actually done but I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think. Come on, we are going to be late. Let’s talk about it later.”

She held me and it felt good, really good. It gave me hope for a second that our lives would not change but that moment passed for I knew that it was only time before she understood the enormity of my actions and the impact on our lives. I put everything aside for the time being. We were going to a party at Steve and Katrina’s. Drinks and catered nibbles for the rich, the bankers, the businessmen for the money, the doctors and the lawyers for the status, the criminals for the thrill. We were late. Steve opened the door, dressed appropriately for him apologizing for the rush and dragging us into the cinema room as he explained that there was a major news announcement that everyone was watching. Gallie had no clue. A few familiar faces turned round and acknowledged us for a split second. Everyone was glued to the breaking news.

“e-DRI.Com, a social network site with a social conscience has been making breaking news across the world today. At exactly 3pm today a message was broadcast in thirty eight languages simultaneously –declaring itself the largest, true democratic International Government –The e-DRI. What exactly does that mean? To find out, we go over to our correspondent in New York, Guy Streeter. Guy what can you tell us? “Well Martin, the Secretary of State has released an official statement and I quote ‘this is a terror threat against every democratic country in the world. We will stand shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm with every free democracy to counter this threat. The US government will use all its resources to fight e-terrorism and all other forms of terrorism. The US will never allow elements in the East to undermine our very civilization.’ Yes Martin, the speech today by Secretary of State, Henshaw left no-one confused. It was a direct attack on Iran and Iranian interests. The detailed speech went on to say that the US government along with its allies would ‘close down, break up and destroy’ every atom of this subversive organization with all means at ‘our’ disposal. For the first time, openly threatening, using phrases, such as, covert and overt, inside and outside the line. It seems that the release of the DRI demands must have hit at the very core of modern government. We can only speculate as to the outcome.” Thank you Guy. President Michele of France, Chancellor Rauch of Germany issued a more reserved, joint statement on behalf of the EU condemning the DRI announcement as ‘a feeble attempt by subversive, government backed terrorist groups to unsettle our very freedom.’ Now over to our political correspondent, Justin Wheeler. Justin, what’s all the fuss about? It seems to me to be an international disaster of miniscule proportions? “Well Martin, if it were a statement from a loony leftist website as many are claiming, you would be right but this a much more interesting and powerful website that has grown largely unnoticed in the last five years. Looked upon until today as simply another harmless social networking website, albeit with a conscience and rumoured to be funded by Iranian money, nobody took much notice of it. Today DRI has come of age. It has declared itself, a global government, an e-government. But the real question is -what is going on behind the scenes? An announcement in itself that a new e-government has self-declared would ordinarily have been little more than back page news. So why has the US and Europe and indeed, leaders across the world reacted so strongly to what on the surface seems little more than another loony declaration by another fringe terror group at worst? Sources in the Whitehouse have revealed that they see this declaration (and they are not alone) as a culmination of what they say is ‘six years’ electioneering’. They see this as the most sophisticated election campaign in history. Sources further reveal that this declaration is merely a part of a much more complex attempt to undermine the fundamentals of our existence. Big words but what are they not telling us? “Justin, indeed, what are they hiding? “Well, we are aware that e-demands have been made across the world to key business people but the content of those demands are not yet known. It is being hailed, rather dramatically, as a co-ordinated e-attack against civilization itself. To understand why this has created such a reaction, we need to look at the history of DRI. Since its inception six years ago, DRI has made no money but more significantly, it has made no attempt at making money and perhaps that is the reason why it should have been more closely monitored especially in light of the fact that it has close to one billion subscribers, more than any other site on the web. As it had no impact on business, it was left alone to grow out of all proportions. I suspect questions will be raised across the world as to how a website like e-DRI that has grown to such unbelievable proportions could have done so, under the radar. It might be a case of too little too late. Some agencies believe that e-DRI was founded by one of the splinter groups connected to The Islamic Brotherhood of Iran but sources in the White House suggest that the Iranian government is behind it. The truth will emerge no doubt in coming days but one thing is certain, whoever is behind it, if they were intending to incite unrest and destabilize the West, it seems that they have already achieved their aim.” Justin can you tell us in brief, the contents of the DRI declaration? “Yes indeed. The statement says, and I quote – ’This day, Tuesday March 1st 2020, we the DRI declare ourselves the first democratically evolved, e- Government. We, The DRI have one billion supporters worldwide and as such are the greatest single and only true democracy in the world. We have a mandate to create a fairer society and to this end, we have begun.’ Well the declaration goes on to talk about the ‘forcible voluntary redistribution’ of wealth. Very odd terminology, seen by many as a threat against the uber-rich or ‘Hyenas’ as they are called by DRI. If you read between the lines, this seems little more than a communist manifesto. But in these times of austerity and the rise and rise of the super-rich, governments across the world may find the new DRI politics of redistribution a little too popular. Is this the dawning of a new age for mankind controlled by machine? Is this the beginning of the era of Artificial Intelligence? Are we witnessing a shift in world politics to the left brought about by the unstoppable power of the people. Robin Hood is alive in the virtual world. The days of the Hyena may be numbered.”

“Isn’t this simply a knee-jerk reaction from governments across the world to, what would appear to be a toothless declaration or is this a reaction to an ‘awakening’ as Chancellor Rauch suggested, a deep rooted global reaction to the growing inequalities throughout the West, an unstoppable force, perhaps? “

“Well Martin, this is a debate that is raging across the world’s media. I have just been informed that demonstrations have broken out across cities and remote villages and towns in India, China and many parts of South America in support of DRI. Further breaking news. President Amiri of Iran denies any involvement of the Iranian government. In a statement issued earlier today, President Arman Amiri stated and I quote – ‘if a fat spider sleeps in an ant’s nest it will wake up dead.’ A lot to digest Martin. Guy Streeter BBC New York.”

Steve switched the TV off. An excited buzz filled the room. Talk from those with a vested interest but the only face I saw and the only words I heard were those of my wife. I watched her as she raised her eyes to find me, to give me the shocked look of realisation that a loving wife gives her husband when she realises that he has committed the murder after all. I looked at her with an apologetic look which she knew was not for my actions but for hurting her and Jazzy. Our eyes confirmed our love but also our disappointment, hers tinged with fear, mine with defiance. She came over to me and stood by my side. I felt my heart pounding for I was aware that this moment was the moment she would tell me if she was with me or against me. She looked around at her friends and listened intently to the fevered discussions. It seemed that she was considering her position which seemed to me an odd thing to do at this stage, that to be surrounded by such obscene wealth and to hear those vested parties justifying their positions regardless of all the statistics and the poverty before them, simply protecting their excesses. No longer would I take a back seat.

“Can you hear yourselves? I am sure that you know exactly how rich I am. I am sure you have all placed yourselves ahead or behind me. I am not blaming you because this is where we are. Most of us here have far more money than we could ever spend in our lifetimes or our kid’s. Have you ever asked why we keep it when most of the world lives in absolute poverty?”

“Jesus Goris, haven’t you been listening? They want to take our money. Why the fuck should they? We’ve earned every penny.”

“You’ve earned nothing. You inherited most of it and so did most of you. All you did was make more money. Hardly a skill and certainly not deserved.“

“Goris, can we go home? I am not feeling well.”

“But Gallie, we’ve only just started. It’s getting interesting.”

“Yes maybe but I need to go.”

We drove home in silence. I could feel her resolve and it worried me because she was capable of extreme reaction. Fifteen minutes later, no discussion, two bags were packed, Jazzy was crying beside her, her questions being ignored and they were gone. I knew Gallie well enough to say nothing now. Jazzy clung to me asking me what had happened, expecting infidelity and probably ultimately regretting that it wasn’t. I still had no doubts, no regrets and that I believe is what Gallie found so hard to accept. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those you love for the greater good. Nevertheless it was hard to see them go. She turned to me in typical dramatic style to hand me the parting words of wisdom.

“I don’t know exactly how big a part you are but I hope it will be worth it.”

I sat on the 25,000 dollar leather sofa, turned on the 10,000 dollar 50 inch tv and rolled myself a joint. It was a reminder that the greatest pleasures in life are universal and are not only the confines of the rich. Many times I had shared a spliff with a cleaner, a farmer, a traveller, a businessman, a friend, rich and poor but now I was alone. Gallie believed it was uncouth and Bohemian to roll a joint and always resented me doing so. How wrong she was. Passing round a joint between friends and people you did not know was part of the marijuana culture. Sharing a spliff was a larger part of the pleasure. Nobody judged you, assessed you, cared, resented, condescended because you were part of the chain and whilst a spliff was being passed around, nothing else mattered because every part of that chain was equal.

Reporters from around the world were theorising and intellectualising, the debate raging, all the time momentum picking up in support of our e-government. There was talk of shutting down DRI but I doubted that they would be that stupid and besides, we had anticipated that. I wondered if or when the agencies across the world would figure out that it was not backed by Iran and when they would start to look for me. I half expected the FBI to turn up here with helicopters and dogs and swat teams and reporters. What would they find? Nothing. No calls on my cellphone, no emails, no paper trail, no documents. The greatest computer minds had protected us all. Our laptops and communication devices were fitted with software that automatically and permanently deleted content and the web of distributors was so spread out that it would be impossible to track down the elements. How would the agencies across the globe, with different motivations and incentives, a significant number within all of them who were distributors themselves or supporters, be able to co-ordinate and co-operate? We had put together the most complex global organisation in history that could not be dismantled. The presidents and prime ministers across the world will cry and stamp their feet and make arrests and false promises and for a while, they will convince the world that DRI is nothing more than a terrorist organisation with links to Al Qaida, backed by the evil Iranians but in the end when they realise the unstoppable power of the new government, they will want to negotiate but they will find nobody to negotiate with. There will be UN committees, EU committees, Congressional committees and agencies all coming up with nothing and eventually decisions will have to be made by all those vested economies and individuals. The demands of e-DRI will have to be considered. The monster they created will enable the solution. The real governments of the world will have to negotiate with the e-government. It will be a negotiated settlement by real against virtual. A negotiation everyone can watch online with nothing hidden, vested interests out in the open, a terrifying ordeal for government. World leaders will have to agree terms with e-DRI online, a concept and consequence that nobody had foreseen. A negotiated, online settlement directly with an electorate of more than one billion people. An multi-national, multi ethnic, electorate, growing daily with no borders to manipulate, no voting under duress, no false promises, no electioneering, no canvassing, no lies, men and women of any colour, religion, persuasion, all equal. Governments will be turning white and vomiting as the virus spreads - equality and redistribution, the sickness and the cure.

I could not help feel a sense of power that one man had brought all this about but then I stopped myself for I knew that whatever I had done was now out of my hands. I felt like a billionaire who had gifted a hospital and had just unveiled his name over the doorway. I justified this thought by reminding myself loudly that this had not been a tax efficient donation via some offshore account that needed emptying nor did it have my name over the door. In fact it was entirely anonymous and I wanted it to remain that way or did I? Was there a part of me, the silent benefactor, who was waiting for my name to be leaked? How many anonymous donors ever remain anonymous? I sucked on the dying spliff, put it out and slept. When you spend 25,000 dollars on a sofa, you’d expect to be able to sleep but I could not. I was too excited about the emergence of DRI as the new world power and anxious that Gallie and Jazzy were not here to share it with me. I was sure that Gallie would absorb it all over the next days and come to her own conclusions. I had no doubt that she would return soon. I felt at a loss. The seed that I had planted had become so huge, growing all the time, unfolding in front of me and yet had nothing to do with me anymore. I suppose I had to let go. My baby had grown up and left the nest. I was semi -retired and had no choice but to play golf and read books. The doorbell rang. Steve.

“Hi, just thought I’d pop in to see how you’re both doing? Gallie seemed very distracted last night. Is she ill? What’s going on between the two of you? She called Katrina in a state last night. She said you’d done something terrible and that all our lives were never going to be the same again. Goris, who is she? I bet it’s the receptionist at the club. I’ve seen you ogling her and I don’t blame you. She’s hot and young and willing.”

“Shut up Steve. It’s not a woman. I’d never do that to Gallie or Jazzy.”

“But she said you betrayed her, cheated her, behind her back stuff. Come on Goris. No point hiding it from your best mate. I’m not judging you.”

“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. But fine I’ll tell you. What do you know about DRI?”

“It’s Iranian backed, probably Al Qaida connected. Spouting crap about redistributing the wealth of the top 2000 billionaires or something. I’m sure Bill Gates is quaking in his boots and Zuckerberg has run away. It was all we talked about after you left. Shame you missed a good argument. Interesting what money does to people or the fear of losing it. Go on, you tell me about DRI.”

‘I created DRI.’

“What are you talking about? It’s Iranian backed. Everyone knows that. Yes Mulla Goris I believe you. Why would you say something like that when your wife - and daughter are falling to pieces?”

“Because it’s true.”

“Ok Lenin, prove it.”

“I can’t. There is no evidence.”

“Sometimes Goris you are such an arsehole. Why can’t you be honest? Alright then, how did you do it? This should be interesting. I’m all ears.”

I poured a whisky for us both but not an off the shelf whisky nor a duty free bargain but thirty year old, finest scotch at a thousand dollars a bottle, imported by me from a small distillery in Scotland that I visited on one of my trips. It reminded me to order a few more cases as the stock was running low.

“I’m not going to go into detail. It all started when I sold my business. Actually it started way before then. Anyway, you know how much I sold the business for. It was all over the press. I remember going to the consultants to discuss where to put the money. I remember the feeling as they talked about how to ‘grow’ the money. I was listening to these guys but not listening, their tongues as far up my arse as possible and all the time I was thinking that I had no right to this money. What the fuck did I want it to grow for? Nobody could spend this amount ever so why make more. It was all pointless. Anyway, those leeches stuck the money here and there, sliced off their little bit and I went home to Gallie and Jazzy. They were licking their lips, making plans, what to buy, where to go, a house here, a house there, cruises, five-star, Gucci and Armani bullshit and on and on. You know, I felt sick like I had done something terrible. I couldn’t get rid of this feeling. In my 30’s and nothing to strive for. It was actually the worst day of my life when I realised that all my dreams had come true. “

“I don’t get it. Everyone envies you, great wife, super rich, young. What more can anyone want? Sure we all feel spoilt from time to time but get over it. Giving a few dollars away won’t change a thing. If you want to be charitable, invest in start-ups, set up a foundation like all the mega rich. It makes them feel better.”

“Well I realised that giving a few dollars away wouldn’t make a difference and no matter what I did, these thoughts just kept growing and growing. My dad operated on the sick every day. He did something noble and good. I did nothing noble and nothing good. I created a means to make money for the sake of money. Where is the satisfaction in that?”

“You’ve lost the plot Goris. You don’t need to catch the fish to enjoy eating it. It’s the reward not the fight. If the reward is great and the fight is small, so what? Fuck conscience. Our money is a bit of dust in the scheme of things.”

“It amazes me that you can say that. I could give 500 million dollars to build 10 hospitals in Africa.”

“So what? To cure thousands of kids and mothers who then go home to poverty and brutality and hopelessness. It’s too big a mess to sort out and besides it’s not our mess.”

“That’s how little you want to know but I did want to know and that’s why I left after I sold the business. I just knew I had to go.”

“Yea and we were the ones that picked up the pieces, Katrina and me while you fucked off all the time. Do you know how much you hurt Gallie and Jazzy? You’ve forgotten what an amazing woman your wife is? They couldn’t understand why you’d want to go alone with all that money, the way you did and then the constant travelling. I only wish I’d met her first. Selfish that’s what you are – pure selfishness and worse, no explanation, not to your wife and not me, your best friend for 30 years. What the fuck got into you?”

“Jesus Steve, I am trying to explain. I knew it was selfish and I couldn’t share something that nobody would understand. I tried a thousand times to tell Gallie and you but it was pointless. When I first travelled, I wasn’t sure why but I knew that the answer was out there. First time I went to Africa, I took photos, ate in restaurants close to the hotel, guided tours and chatted with the tourists. I was supposed to see the Africa enclosed in a rich man’s complex with a safari thrown in. One day I rented a car and it broke down far away from my hotel complex. I had been strongly advised not to go past a certain point but I did. I locked the doors exactly as you do in New York, waiting for someone to turn up. My phone didn’t work so I sat in the car, a big fat rich white Westerner, a perfect target. Some kids started surrounding the car and making a lot of noise. I was even more afraid. A little girl smiled through the window at me, telling me to come. I got out because it seemed safer to go with her than with a few black guys that I was sure were going to turn up. The girl took my hand, followed by all the other kids and led me to her house, a little corrugated shack with a few chickens running around. Hundreds of shacks in a shanty town. It’s quite a shock to see in the flesh. The smells. Anyway the stink really hit me and all I wanted to do was run back to the hotel. Soon the elders came to see me and suddenly I was sitting with somebody important wearing a Hollister t-shirt, listening in a kind of English to how they had no water and no medicine. I couldn’t understand why they were telling me. What had it got to do with me? I was a white man who was prepared to listen and they were desperate. But I just wanted to go to the hotel take a shower and go for a swim. I tried to explain about the car. I have to admit, I was afraid. When you’re a kid and you see someone mentally ill. It felt like that. I was afraid of their desperation. I tried to leave but a woman came through the opening, blocking me. Steve, they brought this woman in for me. I felt so ashamed of my fear and disgust. I tried to go past her but then one of the elders prized a baby out of her hands into mine. The baby seemed about six months old but she was actually two. Jesus Christ, I will never, never forget that feeling - some sort of warm animal, just bones tightly wrapped in scabby skin and huge brown crusty eyes and the whole thing just drooping over my arm, just a barely crying skeleton exactly as we’ve all seen on tv but in my arms. I promise you, until you’ve actually seen a baby dying of hunger and held one in your arms, you will never understand. I was more afraid of holding this baby, like it was a monster. They looked at me expecting me to do something. What could I do? I tried to give it back to the mother but they wouldn’t let her take it. Nobody would take it. They all turned their backs on me as I tried desperately to give this thing to someone, anyone and then the little girl who had taken my hand, looked at me and said ‘sister’. I stopped. I was sweating like a pig. I was truly afraid of this little baby in my arms. The older sister stared at me, tears falling down her cheek, screaming in silence for help. I knew then that it was my fault. And then I felt this tiny, tiny baby suck its last breath and literally die in my arms. Do you know what it felt like? Can you imagine? A dead baby child in your arms and the mother next to you screaming and screaming and somehow it was my fault. I actually puked up. I couldn’t sleep for days after that. Even now, I see that baby when I close my eyes. She could have been saved with a few dollars. How could I come back home and live my life after that? What right do I have to keep this money?”

“One thing has nothing to do with the other. You can help. Set up a charity or something.”

“For fuck’s sake Steve, I can’t hear that charity bullshit any more. That is for millionaires who want to keep their money. I don’t want to join the millionaire charity set, with their champagne fund raisers. It’s not enough. I held a dead baby in these arms that we killed.”

“A little bit dramatic Goris. I realise that must have been quite a shock but it wasn’t your fault.”

“And there you have the point. It is our fault and I can’t accept that. Think about it, tens of thousands of people with more money than they can ever spend. They wouldn’t notice if eighty percent, even ninety per cent just disappeared. Every one of those dollars they keep could save a child. By keeping them, they are murderers. And then I had this mad thirst, to see more and more and so I went from place to place and everywhere I went, all I could see was death and the dying, in villages, towns, camps and in every place and in every direction, the scale of it is beyond any comprehension. You think you get an idea from tv but my god, you don’t. And everywhere I went, they asked for my help but I couldn’t do a thing. You know what’s the strangest thing, that while all this disease and death takes place, you are surrounded by the most beautiful scenery you will ever see. You just don’t expect so much death in so much beauty. Anyway everything I saw seemed to be my fault. I felt embarrassed to be white, for being born in America, for being rich. I saw tens of thousands of dying and sick children everywhere. And when you think you’ve seen it all, something new shocks you – aids victims, babies hooked on drugs, malaria, dysentery, the blind, the deformed, no food, no water and no hope. You see it on tv but you don’t see the scale of it. It’s huge, it’s everywhere. Nothing prepares you, nothing.”

“I’ve no doubt that it must have been awful but it has nothing to do with you. I mean it’s a tragedy but it’s not ours.”

“But it is our tragedy. I’ve held it in my arms, smelled it, tasted it and those things just won’t go away. Until you’ve seen what I’ve seen, you will never know what it feels like to come back to your life. You see everything differently. You think you’ll forget it but you don’t. Every time I came back to this house, my life and friends, all of us guilty with our armchair conscience and excessive lifestyle, I felt more and more out of place. Each time I returned, I felt a little worse. And you’re right, my money is nothing in real terms and I knew I was powerless and then I started thinking about how to change it all, to really help and that’s when I decided to set up DRI. I started talking to people everywhere I went, being introduced to people and introductions led to more and more. I started to put my start-up and exit skills to good use. Even the terminology makes me sick, start-up, exit, VC’s.”

“So you acquired a conscience and you wanted to do something. Great. I’m sure Brandon Grey and Morris Zelig feel the same but they don’t turn idealistic and throw all their billions away. They want to keep it all, give or take a few pennies that they give away to make themselves feel better.”

“Somehow I doubt they have an ideal between them. It’s hard to explain. I want you to believe me. I put every minute and every skill I had to start something that I thought might change things. I poured my money into it and just like most of these pathetic start-ups, it was never going to be a business. That is why I created At first it was to allow people across the world to join something that talked about and exposed the super-rich and the corruption and so on and somehow it grew virally and I became just a member. The idea was that if enough people became active members, it would become an active voice. I had no clue that it would spread virally like it did but I think that because there was no advertising and that it was anonymous, people trusted it. For the same reasons, it was largely ignored by everyone else. Occasionally a mention in the press or tv.”

Steve looked up. I had his attention. I guessed that he must have been worth a hundred million. Was he worried about his money? I filled his glass with another hundred dollar shot.

“Goris, how do you expect anyone to believe that you started DRI? You’ve got a good story but no proof. The only thing I don’t get is why you’d be making something up like this. The whole world knows its Iranian backed. Didn’t they admit it a while back. Some defector.”

“True some guy did say it was Iranian money but it wasn’t, it was mine. Steve, I know the internet and I know how to nurture a site, how to protect it. We’ve spent huge money maintaining its anonymity. There is no way anyone could trace me or my money.”

“What do you mean ‘we’?”

“Well for me that was the most shocking thing of all. The types of people that were supporting DRI, politicians, police, army, business people, actors and even bankers, from all over the world and the list goes on forever. Literally every meeting I attended anywhere I went, I was shocked by the number of people attending. I was introduced online to politicians, bankers, doctors, lawyers, journalists, farmers, street cleaners. We were all the same, just distributors. When I turned up, nobody knew who I was. I was just another distributor fighting the Hyenas. They didn’t know I was a Hyena. It was built up anonymously. I didn’t want anybody to know that I was behind it. The Iranian connection was clever, the defector paid, journalists part of it all. I know I sound like a James Bond villain wanting to take over the world but all I did was to start something that now has a life of its own. Do you know we did a test election for a number of made-up world presidents with varying manifestos, mostly more social based and the winner was the one whose platform focussed mainly on the redistribution of wealth and he got something like 450 million votes. Do you realise the power of those numbers. It’s frightening. That was the first step towards the creation of the first e-government, the largest democratically supported government in history and I founded it. That feels good, really, really good.”

“I can’t take this in. I don’t think you know what you’ve done. What am I talking about? I don’t believe a word of it. It’s a joke. Isn’t it? I mean, you give me this story but you can’t prove it. You claim to have created an online government and you’re sitting at home alone, watching tv and drinking whisky. It doesn’t add up. If it were true, you’d be needed somewhere. The FBI would have unravelled whatever you’ve done. It’s the US government for god’s sake and they watch everything, especially on their doorstep. This is ridiculous. I don’t know why I’m even talking about it. Gallie said you’d gone mad.”

“Really? Well if this is mad, it feels good. For the first time in my life, I feel proud of myself. Steve I can’t prove that I was the founder and I am happy that you don’t believe me. It’s better, safer that way. You don’t want to be an accomplice, do you? Anyway, even if the FBI or CIA were able to track me down, what are they going to do? No jury in the world could or would convict me. I’m Robin fucking Hood.”

“You’re probably right because somebody will kill you before. If you did this, you may be Robin Fucking Hood for millions but you’d be one of the most wanted people on earth, wanted by those who had the fucking money and lost it. Sooner or later, someone would find you.”

“There is no way anyone can find me. Nobody apart from you and Gallie know and neither of you believe me. How are they going to investigate a billion people? Besides, not one of the billion has a clue who created it all. The site is run by the members for the members so there is no link to a person or to any people. I wanted anonymity from the beginning.”

“Who designed the website?”

“An online company in India.”

“How was it paid for? There must have been correspondence whilst it was being built. Instructions, approval”

“Cash taken to a post office box from a village in Peru. Some street kid delivered it. I was travelling a lot, going between internet cafes sending emails from dozens of accounts made up in places all over the world as and when I travelled. ”

“Who maintains the site?”

“Not me. It is maintained by the IT department.”

“IT department. What are you talking about?”

“Steve, it is a government like every other with departments for everything including IT. Every member is a Distributor. Part of the redistribution of equality.”

“It’s crazy. It can’t work. It just can’t. But anyway if you set it up, you must have appointed people to test it, maintain it. There will be something which connects you. I don’t know how it works but you can’t set up a website with a billion subscribers without someone knowing who is behind it. It must cost huge money to run and loads of people.”

“It started small with a few forums and then it grew. DRI offered to pay for internet infrastructure around the world. All they had to do was post a case online and then it would be voted for by all the members. Word spread by mouth, papers, local tv. For the first time ever, a lot of people thought they were being heard. Everything was posted on DRI and agreed through DRI. There was never any link to me. DRI appointed strategic companies to design and re-design, to test and re-test the site. Everything was set up by email from various accounts and places. Payment was always through DRI and into DRI in several different ways. Maybe someone might come forward but they have nothing to say. Nothing can lead back to me. I never once used my name.”

“You might think that you’ve thought of everything but everything has a flaw. It’s only a matter of time. And where does the money come from now?”

“You know how easy it is to raise money from one billion people? One cent times one billion is a lot of money. Ok most don’t, can’t give but a lot do. It goes to an account. At first, I donated money. Don’t worry it was totally untraceable.”

“Who set up the bank account? Who controls the money?”

“The Finance Department is in charge of expenses. A billion eyes watch them.”

“It’s bullshit. Somebody or some group of people must run it all. It’s a huge business. There must be a leader of sorts? Who instigates votes and messages and ideas? Who created the structure?”

“You don’t get it. All I did was pay for the nappies and a little food and then the baby grew. People were joining so fast, I couldn’t believe it. DRI invited members to develop it in any way they wanted subject to vote. People, I mean serious academics and business people, politicians, everyone started developing it like one of those online games that the kids build, except it was serious stuff. It became a 100 per cent online government and it is run online with multiple checks and balances in place and checks and balances to check the checks and balances. The structure evolved through trial and error. It is run by the members. Anybody can post anything and if it gets enough support then it goes to the relevant department where it will be processed, dispatched to a committee where the eEO’s will debate it and send a report to the eLHOD.”

“That would be a logistical nightmare. One billion supporters would overwhelm the system. The HOD, whatever that is, wouldn’t be able to cope.”

“You’d think. But over time we have evolved as I said into a working system. DRI is a self- adaptive system. There is no limit to the number of supporters who can become Distributors or eEO’s, eLO’s or eUO’s. Our civil service and our parliament are huge and growing.”

“But you’d need a leader. Who will governments negotiate with, talk to?”

“A leader is the face of a government. We don’t need a face. We are virtual and negotiations are virtual. Think about it, what can we not do online that we need to do in reality? There is nothing that can’t be done ‘virtually’. We are structured to deal with any event. You must remember DRI has evolved according to the needs and desires of one billion. There are many layers in a complex e-structure. DRI is broadcast in 38 languages. National issues are kept within national departments and national committees and rarely go before the eLHOD. They may be subject to national vote. Global issues go before global departments and global committees. They automatically go before the eLHOD and the eUHOD for online debate. Then to the electorate. The structure has become so complex and the wheels keep turning the machine.”

“It’s crazy. There are so many reasons why it just cannot work. What happens if someone steals money from you or abuses the system? There must be millions at stake and you say you don’t even know who these guys are who control it. It’s ridiculous.”

“Is it? First of all, these guys, we know ‘virtually’ who they are. You need a lot of signatures to take money and every one of those signatories has been vetted. If it’s above a certain amount, it has to go to a financial committee. The committee members have been sponsored and voted in by a lot of people. With the power of the internet, every single one of these is scrutinised a to z by our Scrutiny Department. We check financial records, criminal, health, work and every other record under the sun and everything is posted on DRI for everyone to see. A fingerprint record is held for everyone in any government position, using FIC, Fingerprint Image Capture. If somebody were to commit a crime, they would be tried by our Justice Department. They would be e-tried in our court by jury and real judges and sentenced by vote. All their details would be posted online in the library and any punishment would be virtual. They could be wiped out ‘virtually’ – bank accounts emptied, identities destroyed, health records and employment history erased or criminal records created and so on and on. We have one billion eyes controlling everything. It would be hard for a criminal to escape some form of virtual justice. If you’re interested you can go access the Penal Department records and see for yourself how DRI carries out punishment and how effective it has been.”

“My god, you’ve gone mad. It’s worse than Big Brother.”

“You’re wrong. In 1984, Big Brother, the State controlled the people but DRI is the people and they control the state. It is the exact opposite of Big Brother. Once you get your head around the concept, you’ll realise that this is the only way to run things. But anyway it’s nothing to do with me. I was simply a catalyst. I had no idea. This is the people deciding what’s right. Governments are rotten and corrupt driven by self-interest and ulterior motives. Oil for war, war for land, look at Russia and Mexico and half the countries in the world, giving away national assets to friends and family of presidents and ministers. Is that a fairer way to rule than one billion rulers? If one billion people want a couple of thousand of people to return their stolen wealth then in my world, that can’t be wrong.”

“How are you going to make them just give away their money? You’re going to ask them? That’ll work.”

“Easier than you think. We have a file for every one of the 1426 Hyenas, photographic and documentary, video and sound, witness statements, bank records, tax records. We have an online library with information to expose pure corruption, political collusion, political alliance, military alliance, tax evasion, tax avoidance, duress, unfair practice, destruction of competition, acquisition of national assets, violence, bribery, murder, industrial espionage, reverse engineering – hundreds of creative, immoral and illegal ways to create a fortune and to hold on to that fortune. We can and we will hire the greatest legal minds in any country in the world to break up these empires. We can open the library to the world and stir up unrivalled hatred.”

“But that’s nonsensical. Do you really mean to tell me that every one of these Hyenas is corrupt?”

“Yes. Believe it or not, there is not a single one who is clean. There are degrees of filth of course. Some are so corrupt you would never believe but all are guilty and none deserve to hoard our money to that degree. Finding ways to avoid tax legally or not is corrupt. The Zeligs and the Greys of this world are the acceptable face of corruption. They pay a million and one accountants to find ways to make sure that they pay hardly any tax.”

“How the fuck do you go from rich to communist overnight? I smell hypocrisy here. You live in a 10 million dollar house and drive a Ferrari and yet you support the redistribution of wealth.”

“Correct. I do. But I also support free enterprise and business. Why shouldn’t you be allowed to make money and keep it? It’s not even about honesty. It is just about sharing your excess.”

“And you decide what level that is, do you?”

“Interesting point. If you want a few houses and cars and diamonds then why not?”

“And your site might vote one day to take your houses and your cars. To a starving person, what you have is obscene.”

“You’re right Steve. But it’s a risk I am prepared to take. Look, I understand that business creates wealth and we can’t do without it. I also know that it is the rich that create more business, take the risks, finance inventions and research and so on. They don’t need the money and yet they acquire more and more, why? If it’s not about money then it’s power or ego? Would they stop creating if there was no money in it? I think probably not because their success would be measured in another way? We posted online lectures on DRI about the pros and cons of redistributing wealth and the forum conclusion was much unexpected. Wealth creation was endorsed, encouraged actually.”

“It would bring down the economies of the world. How do you intend to redistribute businesses? Most of these guys money is tied up in investment and business. Are you going to close down Mosot or”

“The greatest economic minds have been asked the question by DRI and the answer is still not known. There is no consensus of opinion on this but there is consensus on the action we have taken and are about to take.”

“Jesus, you sound like a typical politician. I think you’ll become the people you despise in the end. You can’t do what you want to do. It just isn’t possible.”

“You really don’t get it, do you? This isn’t some radical bunch of nutters sitting round a fire in a cave with a Kalashnikov rifle talking about bringing down the West. DRI has an inexhaustible source of brain power. Just let me show you. Give me ten minutes.”


“Okay. I am actually an elected official of e-DRI. I am the Senior Welfare Officer and I can post official requests. I am going to post a request with the Department of Economics and ask for an economics expert to come forward with their credentials and talk to you on a one to one. You ok with that? He will be an official of e-DRI. Ok?”

“Sure. How long will it take?”

“A few minutes. I just want you to see how quickly we have access to everything. I want you to understand just how powerful this is. I’m going to request an economics expert officially. Ok done. Now let’s wait a second. I want you to see that we have thought of every scenario. I am not saying we will get it right but if we get it wrong, it will be the mistake of a lot of people and not just a few politicians. Ok here we go. You see the responses coming in. It’s unbelievable. Look at this one’s profile. I’d say he was qualified enough, UN economist bla bla..”

“Ok put him on….Hello Professor I am Steve Ragman and I wondered if you could answer a few questions for me? Okay, assuming your billionaires, sorry, Hyenas, agree to just give up their wealth, how are you going to break up their businesses?”

“The Committee for the Reform and Redistribution of Wealth set up a sub-committee to look into that very question. It is an exceptionally long and detailed study. It is available online in our library if you wish to read it. To summarise the study, it was concluded that businesses must continue to operate but within a different ownership structure. Of course profit must remain the goal. We envisage in simple terms a form of collective where everyone owns a share of the business and profits are divided accordingly. By no means are we saying that everyone is equal. They are most definitely not. Profits will not be divided equally. Just how they will be split will be subject to debate and vote at a future date. Excessive profits will be invested in more business.”

“Sorry but isn’t it the entrepreneurs who have the vision and unique ability to start and grow business? Where will they be? Aren’t you killing entrepreneurship?”

“It is an issue but the committee felt that a different system of reward might be able to replace the reward of wealth. Once again some very great minds have been called upon to address that point. The Welfare Department requested the assistance of DRI motivational psychologists, some of whom had studied what drives the entrepreneur. One thing that is for sure is that it is NOT the money. That’s a bi-product. The mind of these people is not programmed in the same way as most. Most people make money and always want more but motivation to acquire more usually subsides with the acquisition of wealth. Studies have clearly shown that in most people, motivation is inversely proportional to wealth. However, with the entrepreneur, it is directly proportional.”

“Then it is about money.”

“No it is not. The more they have the more they want - true, but the paradox is that they can never spend what they have and they know it so why do they bother? The psychologists have concluded that they are egomaniacs and studies around the globe confirm this. Why do they set up charitable foundations to give away a very carefully controlled and small proportion of their wealth, enter politics in one way or another, mix with the rich and famous, the film stars, the pop stars and the footballers. Very rarely do they stay out of the public eye. Howard Hughes and a few are exceptions to the rule and usually as a result of a psychological abnormality. They need exposure and adoration. If we find an alternative way to feed the ego, they will remain as creative and motivated as they are now. We need to change the mind-set and we will.”

“Good luck.”

“Luck is not necessary. We have a billion adoring fans for the right people. We have the power to turn these entrepreneurs into Gods.”

“They are already Gods. They don’t need you. Every blonde-haired, blue eyed, twenty year old with half a brain and legs up to her eyeballs wants to catch herself one of your Hyenas. They’re already more of a God than God himself.”

“Yes that’s true but we can give them something real. All of them with trophy wives. Look at Ivanov. Look at Zelig. Hardly Hollywood types and look at their wives. You and I both, we’d love to have half an hour with one of them or preferably both. It’s bullshit. Their whole lives are bullshit, fantasy. We are offering every Hyena the chance to become a member of DRI and make a difference. A Hyena that co-operates will join our Hall of Fame. They can become an Elevated Honorary Member of DRI, a sort of Lord of the DRI sitting in the Upper House. They will be the revered, the most respected. They will receive worldwide adoration. Hospitals, schools, municipal buildings, galleries, museums and children will be named after them. All their money will be spread among charities through our Charity Commission, again all online and by vote. We will feed their egos but not with money.”

“The whole thing is just crazy. I feel like I’ve just been to see some crappy Hollywood film. I don’t know what to think. I just can’t believe you. None of it makes sense. I don’t know. Anyway Goris I still think you’re fucking mad but I need to go and pick up Katrina. I’ll talk to you later I think. What shall I tell Gallie?”

“Tell her to come home please. Tell her we need to talk.”

“Maybe I’ll talk to her. Try to explain. In a way if what you’re telling me is true, it’s not your fault. Yea, you started it maybe but it wasn’t your fault it got out of control or was it? I need to take it all in. You said you dropped the match and the forest caught fire but then you did drop the match.”

“Steve, cut the cliché’s. Just go and we’ll talk later. Watch the tv.”

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