Crypto-Capitalism

Political language is systematically confusing, in a distinctive way. Its significant terms are only secondarily theoretical, as demonstrated by radical shifts in sense that express informal policies of meaning. Descriptions of political position are moves in a game, before they are neutral accounts of the rules, or even of the factions.

It would be excessively digressive to embark on yet another expedition into the history of such political terms as ‘liberal’, ‘progress’, ‘fascism’, or ‘conservative’. Everyone knows that these words are profoundly uninformative without extensive historical qualification, or rough-and-ready adaptation to the dictates of guided fashion. If consistent theoretical use of any political label conflicts with its maximally effective political use, the former will be sacrificed without hesitation — and always has been. That is why neologisms are typically required for even the most fleeting approximation to theoretical precision, whenever political affiliation is at stake.

A point in favor of the ‘crypto-‘ prefix is that it plays directly into such confusion. As a politically-significant marker, it bears two strongly differentiated, yet intersecting senses. It indicates (a) that a political phenomenon has been re-assembled in disguise, and (b) that cryptographic techniques are essential to its identity. Hence, respectively, ‘crypto-communism’ and ‘crypto-currencies’. Any attempt to engage in an initial clarification cuts across the intrinsically occulted character of both.

‘Crypto-capitalism’ — therefore — might be one thing, or two, if it is anything at all. If clarity is to be brought to the topic, it will certainly not be self-promoted. Whatever crypto-capitalism might be, structural misunderstanding has to be the most prominent part of it. Hiding is essential to whatever it is.

What crypto-capitalism is not, first practically, and subsequently theoretically, is pseudo-capitalism, or ‘capitalism’ as it is publicly recognized. Rather than engaging in futile struggle over the ‘true meaning’ of capitalism, crypto-capitalism proceeds with a surreptitious appropriation of terminological confusion, functionalized as camouflage. It does capitalism, all the more effectively, because the grinding mill of political language works predictably, providing it with cover. The loss of terminological integrity is invested, from a position of intense cynicism, as an opportunity to develop off stage.

Pseudo-capitalism is (by now) the host of the Cathedral. It feeds a mega-parasite, which — employing unprecedented powers of narrative construction — claims to be the source of its vitality. Evolving far beyond an initial stage of conspicuous resource extraction, the Cathedralized — or culture-potent — state now more-or-less directly controls the ‘capitalist’ brain, in more ways than can be readily enumerated. ‘Capitalists’ are Cathedralized through educational and media indoctrination, social selection, regulatory discipline, seductive alliance, and ‘transcendental’ subordination to a financial system that has been subverted to its foundations by the magic of power. The mere denomination of ‘capitalism’ in fiat currency expresses the domain of pseudo-capitalism with remarkable exactitude. The meaning of the host is (articulated through) the virus it sustains. Any suggestion of opposition in this relationship is entirely fake, because it belongs to the same magical performance.

Prohibition exemplifies this stage show. Publicly pitting cops against gangsters, what it represents is the spectacular definition of the ‘white economy’ (pseudo-capitalism) over against the ‘black economy’ or ‘organized crime’ (crypto-capitalism). The same story can be told in the decadent USSR, without any need for substantial revision. Whatever refuses denomination in the signs of power is a pathological aberration, to be renormalized as a productive parasited host social body.

As ZH reports:

… one of the most popular websites that use and promote the use of BitCoin, Silk Road, was shut down by the US government. As Reuters reports, U.S. law enforcement authorities raided an Internet site that served as a marketplace for illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and arrested its owner, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday. The FBI arrested Ross William Ulbricht, known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” in San Francisco on Tuesday, according to court filings. Federal prosecutors charged Ulbricht with one count each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, according to a court filing.

It’s worth revisiting this (noted here) to recall some realistic context, and plausible historical analogy. The Prohibition of the 1920s was an endless source of cop-on-gangster drama, none of which had any realistically persuasive  meaning as the successful pursuit of policy. Instead, gangsters used the cops, as a tactical resource for black-economy dispute ‘resolution’. (In the Shanghai of the same epoch, the Opium-trafficking ‘Green Gang’ managed to get their agent ‘Pock-marked Huang’ installed as chief of the French Concession police — an admittedly extreme example of a typical tendency.) From the perspective of the outer economy, cops are a cheap way to smash your competition.

Extrapolate speculatively just a little from the Forbes discussion:

IT’S A RULE AS TIMELESS as black markets: Where illegal money goes, violence follows. In a digital market that violence is virtual, but it’s as financially real as torching your competitor’s warehouse.

In late April Silk Road went offline for nearly a week, straining under a sustained cyberattack that left its sensitive data untouched but overwhelmed its servers. The attack, according to Roberts, was the most sophisticated in Silk Road’s history, taking advantage of previously unknown vulnerabilities in Tor and repeatedly shifting tactics to avoid the site’s defenses.

The sabotage occurred within weeks of rival site Atlantis’ launch. Commenters on the Reddit forum devoted to Silk Road suggested that Roberts’ customers and vendors switch to Atlantis during the downtime, leading to gossip that the newcomer had engineered the attack.

Who was the real beneficiary of the FBI operation? All too many neoractionaries, beginning with Moldbug, and now including Handle, seem to think the only possible answer is: Prohibition. Here at Outside in it appears incontrovertible that ‘Roberts’ had already predicted this ‘sting’ — in far greater detail than anybody else has done — and that the antagonist he pre-emptively, if subtly, fingered was a shadowy crypto-capitalist competitor, rather than the forces of pseudo-capitalist suppression. If this was a cryptic event, it would be inexcusably negligent not to ask: Who (or what) is the FBI really — even if unwittingly — working for? “For the ultimate glory of the white (pseudo-capitalist) economy” is certainly one possible answer, but it is by no means the only one.

ADDED: Jim and NBS both have interesting things to say about technical aspects of these developments.

ADDED: What does the FBI do with its new Bitcoin stash?

October 4, 2013admin 13 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce

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13 Responses to this entry

  • The underground economy continues « Jim’s Blog Says:

    […] In, however, points out the interesting coincidence that the takedown of Silk Road follows, rather than precedes, the appearance of competition to Silk […]

    Posted on October 4th, 2013 at 7:33 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    If it had grown large enough, Silk Road, or a collection of similar online services, would have begun to seriously challenge the revenues of local and international mobsters on a scale that the war on drugs has consistently failed to do…

    The beneficiaries of this FBI takedown are the international criminal syndicates, hit men, and the corrupt networks that enable the drug trade to cross borders in staggering quantaties [sic].

    The FBI has unwittingly done them all a big favor and kept the Internet from disrupting a truly evil international industry.

    Here (ignore bitcoin diversion – though the parallel is obvious enough).

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    You’re indicating the most conservative aspect of the phenomenon.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    And you’re hinting at the most extreme (how surprising), which is where we part. Have fun. I’m going away for a few weeks (well, after the weekend).

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Additional info, FWIW, my understanding is that Atlantis shut down two weeks ago.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 4th, 2013 at 7:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Maybe. But the FBI is very strait-laced. I think Mormon freshmen party harder. I don’t actually know in either case.

    The simplest answer may be best, the FBI works for the Cathedral.

    Absent substance elsewise.

    Moving on – I see many tears and gnashing of teeth that Tor has been violated. Listen guys…there are hacks that involve actual hacking. See – Russia, FSB. Either cowboy up or GTFO the Dude Ranch. Here’s the FSB equivalent of the FBI court order ..the Rectal Thermal Traffic Analyzer [RCTA].

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    There’s no need for self-conscious corruption on the part of law enforcement.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 4th, 2013 at 9:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    @ Admin – we agree -The simplest answer may be best, the FBI works for the Cathedral.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 5th, 2013 at 2:27 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Hmmm….I may be wildly hopeful…but I am wondering if the shutdown means the Estates just moved across the street.

    Because if the Tea Party Congressmen are really listening to their voters, they may just be doing that…you see…there are more like me at home, yes.

    Yes they’d love to waver and sign a CR or any number of bills except ACA…they’d love to, but you see the Senate and the President won’t let them . Whoever’s running with the executive branch side of shutdown is barring the gates of a privately funded WW2 memorial at greater cost than the skeleton staff by far. Further some idiot is prohibting at risk of arrest military GS [general services] contracted Catholic Priests from performing mass or other ceremonies. There aren’t enough active duty priests to go around.

    However the viral [among Catholics] posting is PRIESTS FORBIDDEN TO SAY MASS AT RISK OF ARREST.

    The memorial is escalating the security to keep the vets out, and then the madness of stifling masses being said for the military.

    October 17th [debt ceiling deadline] should be interesting. They may be locked into their respective positions between D and R, House and Senate, Tea and Government…with an executive branch showing at least signs of malicious eccentric behavior.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 5th, 2013 at 2:38 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    I remember peeking into Silk Road a while ago, and that there were sellers based in China. Mostly pills, but I was quite amazed.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 5th, 2013 at 7:40 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    What if serfdom had it’s final triumph and victory was won!!! And nobody showed up??

    Chad..Chad…why is that familiar?

    “But no one could find anyone who had enrolled in one of the 36 exchanges being run by the Federal government, and people were beginning to doubt that anyone had, despite the White House’s assurances. Then finally, finally, Enroll America, a nonprofit ally of the White House run by a former White House communications staffer, came up with someone who had managed to get past all the glitches: Chad Henderson”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-04/is-obamacare-s-first-enrollee-bogus-.html

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 5th, 2013 at 2:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • Leather Says:

    Spot on. The over-loading of political terminology with multiple contradictory meanings has been one of their most powerful weapons in controlling thought and speech.

    Who knows what the word “liberal” means anymore? Or “sexist”?

    It’s a subtle form of newspeak, and makes it virtually impossible to articulate any thought outside of the Cathedral conceptual-frame. Everything has been subverted to meaninglessness.

    A sort of “crypto-vocabulary” to restore free-thought, while remaining hidden from the Cathedral thought-police, sounds intriguing. In the realm of Game/MRA, such a system already exists – carousel, hamster, manjaw, alpha/beta, AMOG, neg, et cetera.

    [Reply]

    Thos Ward Reply:

    Leather,

    Halliday calls these “anti-languages”.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/aa.1976.78.3.02a00050/pdf

    In any case, I agree with you. It doesn’t take a Whorfian to note that language, if not controlling thought, controls the preservation of thought across communicants. A distinguishing feature of humans is their ability to imitate, that is to copy with some degree of precision another’s actions (including speech). This is essential to transmitting skill and knowledge. Non-human primates typically emulate, which is to copy the gist of something but to miss the exact details. This is why non-human primates can learn sign language but cannot transfer that knowledge to other non-human primates. By this functional overload, the Cathedral essentially inhibits one’s ability to copy with any precision the semantic content being conveyed in political discourse, reducing citizens to the equivalent of nonhuman primates.

    [Reply]

    Posted on October 5th, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply | Quote

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