Cybernetic De-Activation

It really isn’t that complicated:

Once the State enforces quasi-monopolies and cartels, inefficiencies rise because the feedback from reality (i.e. price) has been severed. This is how you get an economy where a biopsy costs $70,000, new fighter aircraft cost $200+ million each (six times the previous top-of-the-line fighter) and a conventional (i.e. non-Ivy League) college education costs $120,000 – $200,000.

March 6, 2013admin 21 Comments »
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21 Responses to this entry

  • northanger Says:

    On the adverse tree, the archdemon of Binah is Lucifuge Rofocale — Lucifuge means “flees the light”.


    Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But there is no doubt in my mind that the lion belongs with it even if he cannot reveal himself to the eye all at once because of his huge dimension. We see him only the way a louse sitting upon him would. –Einstein


    admin Reply:

    Northanger dearest, I’m going to start euthanizing comments that are this brazenly bonkers, making not even the slightest pretense of relevance to the topic. This one gets to live because it so perfectly illustrates the genre. Consider it gibbeted for public inspection.


    northanger Reply:

    btw, @fotrkd mentions Margaret Thatcher here:

    Lucifuge Rofocale is the prime minister of hell commanding “for the glory of the emperor Lucifer”. Now, hollowing out (title in your link, btw) is qlippotic (shells, husks) — the adverse (averse) tree is the “evil twin” of the kabbalistic tree of life — or, the sitra achra (“other side” : [locked outside, in the Sitra Achra, forever… where all the monsters are]). “the contemporary process of hollowing out can be reasonably traced to the election of the ‘New Right’ government and Mrs. Thatcher in 1979”.

    The color for Binah (a sphere on the tree) is black. For “lion” see Samson, the hollowed out lion with the bees and honey (Jud. 14:7). Einstein was talking about perceptions of reality.

    Each tree has paths (good & evil) creating a communication system with a “feedback loop” (Path of the Kabbalah, David Sheinkin).

    What tree is Bitcoin on?


    admin Reply:

    Is that one of those lawerly ‘you’ve got to let me out of the gibbet’ speeches that always piss off the sheriff so bad?

    northanger Reply:

    “They Call Me Mister Tibbs ”

    fotrkd Reply:

    To be fair admin you did tag your post with insanity…


    admin Reply:

    I tagged a previous post ‘idiots’ — that wasn’t intended as an instruction either.

    northanger Reply:

    Since I see parallels between financial system [the flow of money] and Sefiroth: Cf. Chapter Five, The Creation Process in Path of the Kabbalah, by David Sheinkin, pp. 87-91. Additionally, Outside, In (both formal & informal) themes include: hollowing out, darkness, big government, democracy, monsters, big bang, time, snowcrash, and (most specifically, the creation of [and possible “breaking”]) Bitcoin.

    Kabbalah teaches evil preceded good in Creation, that darkness preceded light. The “breaking of the vessels” [Shevirat ha-kelim] concept, Sheinkin writes, is “crucial to the whole Jewish mysticism”. This breaking is part of “God’s plan for the universe” — “this theme repeats itself over and over in the Bible”.

    Ten vessels of the Sefiroth [the spheres on the tree] broke because they couldn’t contain “unimaginably powerful spiritual force[s]” — reconstituted as pairs, they became the five Partzufim (“persona”, acting as personality archetypes where “the human personality is modeled”).

    Sheinkin discusses a paradox concerning the Ten and Five involving time and logic — they both exist simultaneously because in the spiritual dimension “once something exists, it always exists”.

    We are seeking here to find analogies or situations that can help us to understand that which in essence is not logical. This is because part of logic is based on the notion of time. But remember that at the level of the Sefiroth, there is no time; time flows downward from them.

    The material plane consists of husks and holy sparks.

    Why did they break? “[T]he breaking of the vessels and their reconstituting allows free will to come into existence. This is because free will depends upon the existence of evil” [note: there is no “entity of” or “primary force known as” evil, however]. Not all the bits reconstituted — those became “the essence of evil”.

    Evil, then, was created from fallen good. The primary reason for this was so that it could be elevated back again to the good. If evil had existed as an entity unto itself, there may have been no way to make evil other than what it was. But if evil was really broken shards of good, then it would certainly be possible to take them and bring them back to their original source. At that point, they would become good again. This is indeed what Jewish mystics see as the task of humanity as a whole and of every individual. Man’s role on earth is to take these broken pieces and, through our actions and way of life, to elevate them back to the source of good. [note: “Messianic task is the redemption of all the holy sparks of Tohu”] When this cosmic process is completed, all evil as we understand it today will cease to exist. From God’s point of view, therefore, first there was good and then there was evil. But on our level, evil came before good; that is why we have darkness preceding light.

    Contrast collecting the holy sparks with the processing power of Bitcoin mining.


    admin Reply:

    [*sigh*] OK, you’re good at this. How about a compromise, in which rampant Qabbalistic Theology waits patiently for a while, before breaking out deliriously somewhere (significantly) deeper down on a thread? The promise of mystical revelation can hang out in the timeless, inexplicit glory of Kether, until Malkuth has had a chance to work itself out.

    SDL Reply:

    Northanger, reading your posts, I can’t help asking the same question I asked the first time I attempted Of Grammatology : is this meaningful and do I need to keep working at it, or is it lleno de mierda ?

    northanger Reply:

    The first Bitcoin block is called Geneisis Block and the first letter of the Torah is Beth(the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet) for bereshit.

    Your hollowing out link is nothing new — just reaching new sectors. The Hollowing Out Chain is longer than Bitcoin’s and it is, of course, going to zero.

    northanger Reply:

    RE: “domination of the substitute” (“a single word with which to designate both difference and articulation”), see Moshe Idel’s “Jacques Derrida and Kabbalistic Sources” in Judeities.

    northanger Reply:

    Once the State enforces quasi-monopolies and cartels, inefficiencies rise because the feedback from reality (i.e. price) has been severed.

    fotrkd Reply:


    Coincidences with you are getting stranger. On 23 June 2012 02:56:42 I saved this (without memory until now – Bereshit reminded):

    There goes Charles, riffing on his night-writer again. The nocturnal creature, banging in silence:

    ‘To read in times of war we must wait for darkness. Illumination leads only to destruction. Better to pluck out your eyes and follow digital impressions. You cannot see, but neither can they. Perpetual darkness follows, but you have circumvented sight.

    16th December 2002 [three months prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom]: an American military C-130 transport plane circles outside of Iraqi airspace – ‘information radio’ aka PsyOps broadcasts begin. Arabic love songs and biographies of internationally acceptable Arabs play reassuring messages to the Iraqi people, all the while jamming the signals of local stations and raising the spectre of invasion simply in being-there. Steganography for the masses. Agitprop. Fuck Saddam. We’re taking him out.

    At what point do we choose to wake up? When does stability either (i) collapse or (ii) lose priority? (clue: there is no mutual exclusivity). Iraq II should have been a political awakening for a whole Western generation. Political morality descended to infantile deception – ‘yes, I’m listening’, the toddler says in brazen innocence, all the while continuing on his pre-determined trajectory of destruction.

    Apocalyptic thinking/satire/parody/renumeration?

    As the End of the World draws near, industries are slowly revealing their true natures. Here are a few choice examples:

    The energy sector burns energy.

    The renewable sector burns net energy.

    Banking bankrupts (Western) Civilisation.

    Agrichemical destroys agriculture.

    Agriculture destroys the environment.

    Pharmaceuticals erode health (we’re one step away from the daily health+ pill – no pill = diminished health (i.e. sickness)).

    Blah blah…

    Institute for Blind Youth

    Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill, and when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality. I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers. – David Cameron [approximately]

    To communicate silently and without light. To communicate blindly and mutely. Braille. Communicate silently. Without light. Dark writing. Silent writing. Reading. Holding hands (in the dark). Secrets. Codes. Language. Secret letters. Letters. In an envelope. Opening a letter. To read through an envelope. Hands in envelopes. That means something! Dead hands? Thieving hands?! Wars always start with letters. Dumas. It’s all French. To write in the dark. To read in the dark. Without a torch. Or a torch under the bed clothes. A boy named Louis. No! In 1821 met a man named Charles. Diderot died in 1784. Louis Braille was born in 1809. They did not meet! And this is a story for now. All writing is night writing. Illumination for the blind/in the night/for those at war (language for war… war is anti-communication – well that’s a given – night writing is partisan; war is disconnection). Is it the story about Braille explicitly? Or more for now. Everyone should learn night writing. Like yoga. As rebellion. Digital night writing. Silent and without light – uninterpretable to Cameron; unceasingly shifting. Fluxian scripts. Can’t be silent or in shadow (well… shouldn’t be…) so be silent to him/them, unlit to… Or peat? Reading life through peat. Peat is night writing?? No. Night writing is a code. If you can interpret the code you can read at night. Night is the end. If you can interpret the code you can read the beginning. A character called beginning who only talks in the code (Bereishit) – but all characters talk very little. You learn the code and so bring about his demise. (A Moon Type poem to finish) Peat is the code. No. The code is applicable to peat. Night writing is a system applied to symbols – peat illuminated. Cutting peat is night writing. Burning peat is night writing. Night illuminates the day when reading is done only in the dark. Peat doesn’t have to have anything to do with this. Burning peat is too visual. But peat is symbolic. Ancient and enduring. Attempts to kill peat! Kill language, kill dialogue through supervision (national grids). What is communication – speech and sight and ears [beginning with a focus on the mouth, the ears and innards]. Night writing is anti-communication. Titus Andronicus. Always. Remove the tongue, the limbs and stumps can still talk (Lavinia). Secret communiqués. Undetected communication. Communicating without someone/thing else knowing. Communication as dialogue not descent into abyss – is this a change with networks? Whispers. Keep it level. Say less says more. Night writing says more because it’s silent. And only the essential. Brevity. A character? Write in dots. Dots are splinter cells. Zoom in on the dots. Dots are burrows (surface changes to the landscape change interpretation). Dot arrangement gives overall meaning (exterior to dot). Understand the dots, but what’s the story? David Cameron wants to outlaw night writing dot make all communication available (and limitable) dot night writing is the essence of all writing dot Christian fish. Use night writing/moon writing symbols for names. Silent, hidden and unpronounceable. We’re doing it already. But night writing failed – only because it was too complicated to read!

    Why did I like it? The calm silence. Because I write at night. Peaceful. Paradox. Paradox at essence. I should like characters to be without voice. Is this control? To stop the characters talking – to stop them writing for themselves. To slow the world down and make sense. Night writing when time is not the boundary but presence – hide your presence by expanding the timeframe for communication. Night writing is slow. Time goes slower at night. Night writing expands life. The sea will be important. Does anyone die at sea? Abyss. The return. The greatest veil. Someone should die at sea. Lots of people die at sea. Lovers always die at sea. Their souls unite in its oneness. Svevo and the sea wave.

    If night writing is essence it is also parasitic upon writing and secondary. We translate into night writing. Can we end with pure night writing? That would be worthwhile. How it would be..? Spatially attractive. Without need for translation. A surrender (end to war – a new (birth of) communication). Transformation (of symbols?) This sounds like war and splinter cells (languages) – rhizomatic burrows. Means to escape. Fluxian scripts. Not encryption. Oscillating language – to communicate silently and blindly in the daytime (digitally). This doesn’t fit with peat. Lady Jane (or whoever)! The natives take to the hills. Speak no English. Peat! Stoke the fire. What’s wrong with old communication? Too noisy!

    Night writing/Braille – reading with your finger. Learning to read – scanning across pages with your finger. Directing the eyes. Communicating to the eyes. Braille a more direct transmission to brain. Eyes are not essential to communication, just useful. Fingers – the physicality of communication. Primitive body language. Joyce had blind eyes. Lucia had cross eyes. They kept operating. Who operated on Joyce?

    Night writing

    Bereishit ran his finger across the page and repeatedly stubbed his forefinger into the keypad:

    ‘ r s t.’*

    [What is Bereishit’s number? – 25r59s89t]

    * this included moon type which hasn’t displayed here.

    Posted on March 6th, 2013 at 11:06 am Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    So, do the examples support or vitiate the premise here? Bubbles / boom-and-bust cycles are not a “lack of feedback” phenomenon, they exist because of feedback – it’s just that the positive (self-reinforcing) and negative (re-balancing and correcting towards equilibrium) feedbacks are separated in time. “Markets can remain irrational a lot longer than you and I can remain solvent.” – JM Keynes.

    The greatest enabler of such time separation (or “insulation”) is credit, and the danger arises when herd behavior uses a rapid expansion of new credit to speculate based on nothing more than the price-trend. Wise policies recognize the potential for this in a market economy and intervene to prevent decoupling and manage the channels which can exacerbate the tendency. Wisdom and sanity are scarce commodities, alas.

    So, consider the examples. I’ll preface this by stating that I consider the entire education system horribly broken and wasteful but it is not one of a lack of supply-demand-price feedbacks. Individuals still chose whether to attend college, which one to attend, and which degree to pursue. The prices, quality, and reputations of the institutions vary considerably. Colleges compete both for talent and overall enrollment, and students compete to gain entry. The maximum prices for tuition are available transparently online.

    Yes, it’s true that the government almost exclusively is the issuer of subsidized credit in a way that bears no relationship to the likely remunerative potential of an individual student and his chosen course of study, but the student himself knows that he cannot discharge the loans and has an incentive to, at the very least, seek some wise counsel on the appropriateness of the first of only several significant (6+ figures) financial decisions he is likely to make in his lifetime.

    The media has been full of stories of people for whom the decision was a poor one for many years now. Bryan Caplan has his signaling model work, and Glenn Reynolds wrote an entire book about the Higher Education Bubble.

    Medicine is also broken, but there remain certain competitive pressures for providers. And as for fighter jet prices, that’s a complex topic, but the bottom line is that the contracts are bid out amongst genuine competitors and the prices reflect the cost of satisfying the government’s chosen requirements. The profitability of the corporations that make them is typical. Lockheed’s PM is merely 5.8% whereas Apple’s is 25.4.

    So, just making a blanket statement that these phenomena are reflective of government shielding cartels from economic reality feedbacks is very, very sloppy. That’s not the root of any of these problems.


    admin Reply:

    “That’s not the root of any of these problems.”
    I think you’re totally wrong on this. In every case, the institutions concerned are massively shielded from the forces of economic competition / market pressure.
    — Health / education are guilds.
    — Private competition is severely restricted.
    — Consumer feedback is not effectively registered.
    — Customers are screened from real prices by subsidies, loans, and obscurely aggregated product packages.
    — Defense contracts are typically cost-plus, selected among oligopolistic suppliers, based on deeply corrupt ‘strategic’ (non-economic) criteria, and subject to top-down product specification by cost-insensitive bureaucracies.
    There is no serious economic feedback in any of these areas, or any other dominated by the state. The Internet is (possibly) beginning to shake things up in education, medical tourism could make a difference to health (although Obamacare is going in the opposite direction), but defense is probably beyond salvation without a major war. Total expected cost per F-35 (with R&D subsidies included) is over US$300 million. That figure speaks for itself.


    Handle Reply:

    The local US electric company is a heavily regulated utility. Even Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom allowed that it provided a good example of a natural monopoly which justified a certain degree of state intervention. It is shielded from competition on a product for which there is relatively (compared to the bulk of consumer purchases) inelastic demand. The regulator sets prices, profit margins (basically “cost plus”), work conditions, often demands unionization and requires union wages (sometimes by law as a large multiple of the minimum wage), and requires certain hidden taxes and transfers from affluent to indigent in the form of subsidies and “special rates”. Overall government policy also mandates certain technological and environmental criteria – including the new carbon-emissions and sourcing rules.

    All in all, you’ve got an enterprise, the operation of which is so defined and constrained that, essentially, it is a government service and only the day-to-day management of it has been outsourced / contracted-out to a “private” management company. Not much different than if the government built a toll-bridge and let a private company run the booths for a reasonable management fee. (As an aside, one wonders how aptly this described many “private” companies.)

    It’s frankly hard to imagine a more government dominated and buffered / isolated / shielded monopoly industry that isn’t actually completely integrated within the government itself. Maybe the pre-bail-out GSE’s – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Sallie Mae, etc. (Though does anyone think for a minute that if the local utility were to go down financially with no private entity willing to take it over that the government wouldn’t bail it out to to maintain service? Of course that’s exactly what everyone expects. Too Politically Important To Fail)

    The fact remains that electricity rates have closely tracked fuel prices and the burden of regulatory compliance. They have not shot for the moon. They have not posted huge annual deviations from average price-trends.

    Now, compare all this to my description of the market in higher education credentialing services above, which is a laissez-faire free for all by comparison. (I exaggerate. Slightly.)

    So, the claim is that monopoly / oligopoly, heavy government involvement regulation, lack of consumer feedback, etc. is causing pricing in these fields to behave as they do. But electricity is further along each axis and yet, in comparison, behaves in the opposite manner of what this claim would predict.

    So, I think for this kind of claim to be robust, especially as a multipurpose account of various specie of modern dysfunction, that this kind of discrepancy requires a good explanation.


    admin Reply:

    Superbly argued, and I agree this is a fascinating puzzle. One factor that has to be crucial is that electric power supply is just about as thoroughly commoditized as any product could be, in blatant contrast to the other examples under discussion (health, education, and advanced military hardware).
    On this hypothesis, price precedent, and inter-regional / international comparison, operate as controls (as they do in the early stages of the Misesian ‘socialist commonwealth’, which are similarly informationally parasitic upon the memory of, and external reference to, price discovery in the market economy). Corporate freedom (especially the prospect of hostile take-over) ensures that the indirect market benchmark can be enforced, in cases where management indulges its insulated situation to relax cost discipline. An electric company that drifted into socialist production patterns (on the Pemex model) could be cannibalized by private equity vulture funds and re-structured.
    Allowing aggressive hostile take-overs of hospitals and universities would be at least a partial solution to their sclerotic degeneration. In both cases, however, systematic price-desensitization at the consumption end is a huge part of the problem. (Subsidize electricity bills on the model of healthcare, and see what happens — my guess: disastrous things.) With defense companies, the problem has more to do with the near-complete absence of cost-effectiveness as a governing criterion in weapons contracts, so take-overs wouldn’t deliver the same benefits.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Could be that regulation of negotiated price, ala public utilities, works much better than artificially boosting demand, ala eduction.

    In other words real actual (arguably justifiable) socialism could be more efficient than a pretend free market.

    It works the other way in the food supply: government grants to farmers makes farmers (and thus mega-agribusinesses) rich, and makes food cheaper than ever before in human history. But making food cheaper than ever before has had very expensive unintended consequences: obesity, diabetes, cancers. What we (present company excluded of course) want is people not to starve, not necessarily make food cheaper. So the better way to do it would be to just give lots of folks at risk of starving (say the bottom quintile) coupons to buy food at natural market prices instead of foolishly lowering the costs for everyone. But today, thanks to soft socialism masquerading as good ol’ American “investment” in the most deserving salt-o-the-earth thing ever (farming), it is only the upper quintiles (in IQ, wealth, and future time orientation) that can afford healthy food to stay thin, and the poor are lard-asses… but at least they’re not starving.

    Posted on March 6th, 2013 at 1:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • SDL Says:

    In other words real actual (arguably justifiable) socialism could be more efficient than a pretend free market

    The Venezuelan food and oil industries would disagree with you . . .

    I think it would be better to treat the success/stability of American utilities as an exception rather than a rule. Of course, some explanations are needed as to why it’s an exception, and to that end, I think it’s a valuable case to study.


    Posted on March 6th, 2013 at 8:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:


    Well the why could be something as simple as there really is such a thing as a natural monopoly.


    Posted on March 6th, 2013 at 11:04 pm Reply | Quote

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