Archive for the ‘Commerce’ Category

Quote note (#324)

Silicon Valley leans dismally leftwards, but at least it’s unprincipled:

President-elect Donald Trump’s views on a range of issues, from immigration to climate change, alienated many left-leaning tech employees in Silicon Valley, but none more so than those working at Alphabet. […] During the presidential campaign, 33 employees at the tech giant donated $20,000 to Trump, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That was a tiny fraction of the 1,400 employees who donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, for a total of $1.6 million. […] And it wasn’t just political donations. […] The revolving door between the Obama administration and the company swung hard and frequently during the past eight years: 22 former White House officials left the administration to work for Alphabet, according to research from the Campaign for Accountability. […] … Despite this rocky history, both sides are now trying to find common ground as the inauguration approaches. Alphabet CEO Larry Page recently joined other tech leaders at a meeting with the incoming president. Meanwhile, Schmidt has been very visible at Trump Tower, visiting at least twice. …

(Internal hyperlinks are all inane, so I’ve ignored them.)

(Via.)

January 18, 2017admin 5 Comments »
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The Market from Hell

The supply side could be reasonably compared to a high-pressure fire-hose:

A new poll for YouGov of almost 15,000 people found that 60% would like to be an author. The news may come as a surprise to the bestselling and critically acclaimed novelist Sebastian Faulks, who this weekend expressed his wish to find a job, writing in the Spectator that he has “now spent almost a quarter of a century alone in a garret staring at a blank wall, and I think it has driven me a bit mad”. […] … According to a survey carried out by Digital Book World earlier this year, almost a third of published authors make less than $500 (£350) a year from their writing.

Here’s the demand sink they’re feeding into:

ADDED: Relevant musings of Albert Jay Nock.

April 6, 2016admin 36 Comments »
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Soft Enterprise

Discussing the rapidly-escalating East Coast establishment onslaught against the the Silicon Valley tech-comm culture, Henry Dampier proceeds in business-like fashion to the initiating NRx insight:

Hope all that time smoking dope and building the perfect Harry Potter-themed polyamorous community made you tough enough to handle an insane monster eager to rip out your guts and bite your head off.

When SV finally, deeply learns that it can’t buy off the Cathedral super-predator with cool gizmos and ‘make the world a better place’ corporate bullshit, it’s going to start reading a lot more Mencius Moldbug.

April 22, 2015admin 22 Comments »
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Owned

Hurlock has a valuable post on the concept of property, especially in its relation to sovereignty, and formalization. Since (Moldbuggian) Neocameralism can be construed as a renovated theory of property, crucially involving all three of these terms, the relevance of the topic should require no defense. The profound failure of enlightenment philosophy to satisfactorily determine the meaning of property has been a hostage to fortune whose dire consequences have yet to be fully exhausted. (Within the NRx generally, the question of property is deeply under-developed, and — with a very few exceptions — there is little sign of serious attention being paid to it.)

The enlightenment failure has been to begin its analysis of property from the problem of justification. This not only throws it into immediate ideological contention, submitting it to politics, and thus to relentless left-drift, it also places insurmountable obstacles in the path of rigorous understanding. To depart from an axiom of legitimate original property acquisition through work, as Locke does, is already proto-Marxist in implication, resting on philosophically hopeless metaphor, such as that of ‘mixing’ labor with things. It is property that defines work (over against non-productive behavior), not the inverse. As Hurlock notes, Moldbug’s approach is the correct one. ‘Property’ — as a social category — is a legitimation of control. It cascades conceptually from sovereignty, and not from production.

These matters will inevitably become intellectually pressing, due to the current technocommercial restoration of money, exemplified by the innovation of Bitcoin (in its expansive sense, as the blockchain). Control is undergoing cryptographic formalization, from which all consistent apprehension of ‘property’ will follow. Property, in the end, is not sociopolitical recognition of rights, but keys. What you can lock and unlock is yours. The rest is merely more or less serious talk, that only contingently compiles. This is what hacker culture has already long understood in its specific (thedish) usage of ‘owned’. There’s no point crying to the government about having paid good money for your computer, if Nerdgodz or some other irritating 15-year-old is running it as a Bitcoin-mining facility from his mother’s basement. The concreteness of ‘might is right’ once looked like a parade ground, but increasingly it is running functional code.

Formalization isn’t a detached exercise in philosophical reflection, or even a sociopolitical and legal consensus, it’s functional technocommercial cryptography. Defining property outside the terms of this eventuation is an exercise in arbitrary sign-shuffling. Those with the keys can simply smile at the surrounding senseless noise. As Moldbug anticipates, with rigorously coded control, there’s nothing further to argue about.

ADDED: Three recommended links from Bitstein; Locke’s mistake, blockchained title, crypto and contracts (video discussion).

November 15, 2014admin 17 Comments »
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Quote notes (#85)

Marc Andreessen on the triangular dynamic tensions of tech innovation:

These technologies escalate the power of government, but they also escalate the power of business, and they also escalate the power of individuals. So everyone’s been upgraded. And it’s a recalibration of who can do what, and everybody can do new things, so everybody’s uneasy about it. Governments are very worried about what citizens are going to be able to do with these new technologies. Citizens are very worried about what governments are going to do, and everybody’s worried about what businesses are going to do. It’s this three-way dynamic that’s playing out. And so for any of these individual issues, it’s not just “What is one leg of this triangle going to be doing?” It’s, “What are all three of them going to be doing, and how will the tension resolve itself?”

Much of interest also on the NSA, net neutrality, and especially Bitcoin:

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May 22, 2014admin 10 Comments »
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Watch Out

Anna and the Hacked Matter crew have a great (time) piece in The Atlantic on the latest escape route from real space. Getting the input interface right is going to be tricky, but the techno-commercial teleology guiding this development is surely inexorable. (I envisage the emergence of some kind of needle thingummy, to stitch the data in with.)

shanzhai 1

May 19, 2014admin 15 Comments »
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Quote notes (#81)

Jason Collins quotes Alfred Russel Wallace on an encounter with anarcho-capitalism in Dobo (Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia):

… there are now near five hundred people in Dobbo of various races, all met in this remote corner of the East, as they express it, “to look for their fortune;” to get money any way they can. They are most of them people who have the very worst reputation for honesty as well as every other form of morality,—Chinese, Bugis, Ceramese, and half-caste Javanese, with a sprinkling of half-wild Papuans from Timor, Babber, and other islands, yet all goes on as yet very quietly. This motley, ignorant, bloodthirsty, thievish population live here without the shadow of a government, with no police, no courts, and no lawyers; yet they do not cut each other’s throats, do not plunder each other day and night, do not fall into the anarchy such a state of things might be supposed to lead to. It is very extraordinary! It puts strange thoughts into one’s head about the mountain-load of government under which people exist in Europe, and suggests the idea that we may be over-governed. […] Here we may behold in its simplest form the genius of Commerce at the work of Civilization. Trade is the magic that keeps all at peace, and unites these discordant elements into a well-behaved community. All are traders, and know that peace and order are essential to successful trade, and thus a public opinion is created which puts down all lawlessness.

NRx typically strays much too far from this insight.

May 13, 2014admin 16 Comments »
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Future Mutation

Our first Time Spiral Press product is up on Amazon. (Yet to update the TSP site in recognition, though — Dunhuang and all.)

We put it up in a Jing’an District bar, over a few cocktails, which somehow rubbed-in the revolutionary aspect. It was hard not to imagine Rimbaud and his Absinthe-sozzled crew producing some delirious poetry and sticking it up on Kindle before the end of the evening. Amazon is going to disintermediate publishing so hard. In my experience, this fate never befalls an industry before it has abused its position to such an incredible extent that its calamity is necessarily a matter of near-universal celebration. Broadcast media, publishers, academia — into the vortex of cyber-hell they go …

 

April 10, 2014admin 4 Comments »
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Distributors

It’s time for another (quick) Umlaut rave. There’s no getting around it after reading this, then following the back-link to this, and being reminded somehow that this comparatively obscure online magazine has somehow rounded up two of the half-dozen or less people in the world who really get what Bitcoin is going to do to this planet. (I’d say “two-and-a-half” — but with no disrespect to Adam Gurri, his soul just isn’t in it, which is to say: terminally distributed.)

After reading this stuff, it’s easy to think that the only meaningful role for anything else on the right is to run interference while ‘Bitcoin’ (i.e. a-centric digital crypto-commerce) consummates the destiny of capitalism. The intelligence gulf between the emerging Bitcoin machinery and legacy political controversy now yawns so abysmally that inherited conceptions of ‘activism’ have become low comedy. Poke at Bitcoin with a political stick and it slithers sideways while turning more feral — the ‘instinct’ for that is already locked in. The confused idiots who are trying to manage human societies today will almost certainly make it into a monster. Since I don’t like them very much, it doesn’t upset me to see it stealthing into the shadows, with venomous claws emerging. It will be darkly amusing to see it coming at them out of Hell.

April 8, 2014admin 46 Comments »
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Monetary Reality

Kevin D Williamson writes one of the best pieces yet on Bitcoin:

To argue that bitcoins are not “real money” because they have no central-bank regulation or central issuer is like arguing that a prepaid disposable cell phone is not a “real phone” because its number doesn’t appear in the directory and you don’t get a bill. That’s the point, or at least part of the point. 

I am skeptical of the Bitcoin model, but it has in no small part been a victim of its own popularity, with speculative investments in bitcoins overwhelming their use in commercial transactions. But this phenomenon is not unknown among traditional currencies. Consider the lengths to which the Swiss have had to go in recent years to stabilize the value of the franc as euros (and, to a lesser extent, dollars) bounced about. 

But that misses the broader point in a couple of ways. The first is that bitcoins and other private currencies are intended as replacements for greenbacks in approximately the same way that the Internet was intended to be a replacement for the printing press: They may do that, sure, but they will have other uses as well. Wresting control of currencies away from politicians is the only way to let money evolve. Twenty years ago, you didn’t know that you’d want to take photos with your telephone or use it as a boarding pass at the airport. Now you do. Nobody planned that. Nobody knows what “real money” is going to mean in twenty years. 

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March 4, 2014admin 20 Comments »
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