This is not an easy subject for people to scan with calm, analytical detachment, but it is a crucially important one. It is among the rare topics that the Left is more likely to realistically evaluate than the Right. Much follows from the conclusions reached.
It can be fixed, provisionally, by an hypothesis that requires understanding, if not consent. Capital is highly incentivized to detach itself from the political eventualities of any specific ethno-geographical locality, and — by its very nature — it increasingly commands impressive resources with which to ‘liberate’ itself, or ‘deterritorialize’. It is certainly not, at least initially, a matter of approving such a tendency — even if the moralistic inclinations of gregarious apes would prefer the question to be immediately transformed in this direction. Integral Leftist animosity to capital is actually valuable in this respect, since it makes room for a comprehensive apprehension of ‘globalization’ as a strategy, oriented to the flight of alienated productive capability from political answerability. The Left sees capital elude its clutches — and it sees something real when it does so. By far the most significant agent of Exit is capital itself (a fact which, once again, politically-excitable apes find hard to see straight).
“It’s escaping! Let’s punish it!” Yes, yes, there’s always plenty of time for that, but shelving such idiocies for just a few moments is a cognitive prerequisite. The primary question is a much colder one: is this actually happening?
The implications are enormous. If capital cannot escape — if its apparent migration into global circuits beyond national government control (for non-exhaustive example) is mere illusion — then the sphere of political possibility is vastly expanded. Policies that hurt, limit, shrink, or destroy capital can be pursued with great latitude. They will only be constrained by political factors, making the political fight the only one that matters.
If capital cannot in reality flee, then progress and regress are simple alternatives. Either nations advance as wholes, in a way that compromises — on an awkward diagonal — between the very different optimisms of Whigs and Socialists (Andreessen), or they regress as wholes, destroying techno-economic capability on the down-slope of social degeneration (Greer). Only if capital escapes, or practically decouples, does it make sense to entertain extreme pessimism about socio-political trends, alongside a robust confidence in the momentum of techno-economic innovation. The escape of capital is thus an intrinsic component of split-future forecasts, in which squalid ruin and techno-intelligenic runaway accelerate in inversely-tangled tandem (Cyberpunk, Elysium). Try not to ask — if only for a moment — whether you like it. Ask first, with whatever intellectual integrity you can summon: What is the real process?
It is the contention of this blog that without a conception of economic autonomization (which means escape) modernity makes no sense. The basic vector of capital cannot be drawn in any other way. Furthermore, the distribution of ideological positions through their relation to this vector — as resistances to, or promotions of, the escape of capital — constructs the most historically-meaningful version of the Left-Right ‘political’ spectrum (since it then conforms to the social conflicts of greatest real consequence).
If capital is escaping, the emergence of the blockchain is an inevitable escalation of modernity, with consequences too profound for easy summary. If it isn’t, then macroeconomics might work.