Joseph Villanueva lifted the artist-management industry with his highly publicized 2021 whistleblower victory in federal court. He has since co-founded the high-consulting firm Republicist to provide counsel with a high-ethical baseline to the most important emerging artists and brands in the genetics, robotics, fine-art, and luxury sectors.
Every New Yorker is created. How did you arrive in the city, and what early experiences in the city created you?
I arrived exactly 10 years ago with Hurricane Sandy. Truly. Two months prior to committing to move to New York from East Los Angeles, where I am from, I was approached by Comcast to film a reality TV show pilot focused on my moving to Manhattan and opening a talent agency with Ms. Olga Tavarez, an influential talent executive who was known for developing important actors and models at WME/IMG. Comcast's commitment to the pilot empowered us to organize a team of investors who believed in our business model, inclusive of the developing reality TV component. I admittedly had no intention of pursuing the series seriously and ceased the production immediately upon arriving in New York. Olga and I desired instead to establish a credible business.
Understandably, the investment team lost confidence in the project, which no longer had immediate commercial appeal, and within six months, we ceased operations. The dream of living in the rent-free apartment I was offered from our former investors faded soon thereafter, and I moved to the South Bronx, where I lived for two years.
I recall that the winter of 2013-2014 was historically very cold, and I did not have the financial means to travel for the holidays. My apartment had fallen victim to a bedbug infestation that was sweeping through the city. No matter how clean or toxic my roommates and I made the space, we couldn’t resolve the challenge. With the roommates away one week, I found the moment opportune to open all the windows and allow winter to have its way with the apartment. I recall watching House of Cards that week, lips blue.
But the effort was successful, and we were released from the infestation. In retrospect, I suppose the lesson was that someone has to brave the cold.
I next found myself living at the infamous McKibbin Lofts, among a community of committed culture-jammers, upwardly mobile autodidactics, socialists, anarchists, photographers, stylists, hackers, and such. This was a period of great-generation for me and all the individuals who lived there during that important moment in New York history. Federal government surveillance was ever present, the FBI raided the community a handful of times in search of the Anonymous hacking group. A community of autodidactic millennial leaders manifested there and began to advent around 2015 to 2016. They are now leading industries, and I am proud to be one of them.
How do you envision New York in the year 2030?
The clever and creative will run New York in the post-Baby Boomer era; let's pin it at 2030. Many white-collar professionals will find settlement working outside the city, making office space affordable. The Boomer demographic will begin to flush the market with fair-priced real estate as they look to cash in on their lifelong investments with little patience. Wealthy foreigners from the Eastern world will pivot out of New York real estate and sell their assets at fair prices due to asset-seizure potential during times of conflict, while other foreigners will sell their New York properties due to capital constraints during trialing times. This will all be beneficial to young creative entrepeneurs, talented immigrants, and artists. New Yorkers will remove themselves from the left-right dichotomy by 2030, and the new system in the next world order will be developed in New York. The world should want it to be. Hearsay and bias aside, New York is the greatest city in the world.
How do you envision the United States and North America in 2030?
Domestically in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, we should expect nothing short of ascension and abundance so long as we can remove ourselves from the right- and left-wing separation. We will need to become “up-wing” instead.
In Mexico, I foresee an empowered and ever more skillful population. Mexico was unaffected by the post-World War II population rifts and bubbles that will challenge many of the important global markets in the coming age. Mexico is benefiting from the reallocation of medium-level production from China and will surely specialize in certain important developing markets, as Singapore and Taiwan have-in Mexico's case, I predict robotics. It must be known that Mexico is the United States' most important partner in the coming order. Both the U.S. and Mexico are each other's panacea.
Equally important is Canada's fertilizer industry, which accounts for nearly 15% of the global fertilizer market. This fertilizer will be taken off the international market and traded regionally to the benefit of all three. This regional-focused trading will also create severe agricultural-output challenges internationally.
How do you envision Europe in 2030?
So dark all over Europe…
How do you envision the global atmosphere in 2030?
I paint a somber global image, and I will take responsibility in detailing my reasons henceforth. At their core, most markets globally depend on the current world order-that is, the American-led globalized trade agreements initiated after World War II. The current order opened American consumer markets to the countries destroyed by World War II. Global trade has been secured by the U.S. Navy's presence, which enables products to be shipped routinely without expensive shipping insurance.
In return for access to American consumer markets, countries agreed to partake in the current order, which included agreeing to challenge the spread of communism. The American order prevailed after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the impossibly rare period of relative stability we consider normal commenced.
That period is now over. The U.S. is pulling back on its maritime assurances, while other regional powers such as India are realizing their maritime power for the first time. The food- and fertilizer-trade agreements, stable prices, and all the other comforts of our former normality are over. Factually, most countries cannot support their own populations with food and are dependent on the current world order, and increasing food costs will result in Arab Spring-style instability internationally, for better or worse.
Also essential to note that the current world order is also built upon a capitalist framework, which depends on increasing consumption and revenue, which in turn typically depend on ever-growing populations. This model is not possible in the coming age for most developed countries. Capitalism ends when financial projections in most consumer markets are scaled to decrease by 30% to 45% in 20 years.
This fact is a global-order-changing event that will end capitalism as we know it. Governments will attempt to mitigate the challenge with some iteration of a planned economy.
New York is the most competitive market in the world. How would you describe your relationship with your competitors in a dramatically changing consulting market?
Our competitors publish media on their channels about building a more ethical and inclusive world, yet they empower America's adversaries and continue to work with serial abusers in all forms, while offering creative counsel to Big Pharma on how to feed New Yorkers more opioids. They are a status quo incarnate, operating within a reality tunnel of a previous cycle. Their time is over.
Every consulting firm and consumer base industry needs to acknowledge the advent of the millennial demographic. Not every country has one, but the U.S. does, and millennials have been challenged twice, first in 2008 during the financial crisis and then again by Covid once they regained footing. This financial frustration is manifested at a minimum as consumer activism. We've seen millennials and Gen Z turn their purchasing power into a war chest for activism in the best ways since 2020. Our competitors lack the ethical merit to manage these challenges and are increasingly unable to align their businesses with this new cast of principled innovators, whom Republicist is commited to empowering.
Which three career moments do you draw from the most as a consultant?
When does one cease from being a New Yorker?
When you live here and stop learning, and then stop fighting.
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