Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism’

Quote (#255)

The Economist on Peter Thiel:

At his best, Mr Thiel was a mixture of libertarian and contrarian. As a student at Stanford University in the late 1980s and early 1990s he railed against the new academic orthodoxies of multiculturalism and diversity and political correctness, founding a conservative magazine, Stanford Review, and publishing an establishment-baiting book, “The Diversity Myth”. He even defended a fellow law student, Keith Rabois, who decided to test the limits of free speech on campus by standing outside a teacher’s residence and shouting “Faggot! Faggot! Hope you die of AIDS!” When he was a young tyro in Silicon Valley, his libertarian vision inspired many of his business decisions. He hoped that PayPal would help create a new world currency, free from government control and dilution, and that Facebook would help people form spontaneous communities outside traditional nation states.

There is a darker element in his thinking today. In an essay written in 2009 for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank, he declared that he no longer believed that “freedom and democracy are compatible”, putting some of the blame for growing statism on the rise of welfare dependency and the enfranchisement of women. He added a grandiloquent coda: “The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism”.

(That final Thiel quote is Sentences material.)

Libertarianism either goes dark, or it dies of cognitive dissonance. The number of people seeing that — while small — is rising on a parabolic curve.

June 4, 2016admin 8 Comments »

Moron bites (#13)

Is Islamophobia Accelerating Global Warming? (Well, is it?)

This talk examines the relation between Islamophobia as the dominant form of racism today and the ecological crisis. It looks at the three common ways in which the two phenomena are seen to be linked: as an entanglement of two crises, metaphorically related with one being a source of imagery for the other and both originating in colonial forms of capitalist accumulation. The talk proposes a fourth way of linking the two: an argument that they are both emanating from a similar mode of being, or enmeshment, in the world, what is referred to as ‘generalised domestication.’


Actually, I think this is quite possibly truish — although approached with such utter leftoid twistedness that I’m not inclined to re-classify it more politely. Insofar as ‘global warming’ is the presently-accepted Cathedralist translation for ‘industrial vitality’, it’s more than likely that a completely triumphant Ummah would put the lid on it. If the talk had been titled Twin-Angled Anticapitalism the inner coherence would have been more obvious.

May 13, 2016admin 14 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

X-Risk Democratization

Yudkowsky redux: “Every eighteen months, the minimum IQ necessary to destroy the world drops by one point.”

Quibble with the (Moore’s Law satire) schedule, and the point still stands. Massive deterrent capability tends to spread.

This is ‘democratic’ in the way the term is commonly used by those seeking to latch decentralization tendencies to the ideological credibility of Jacobin legitimation principles. Consumer capitalism, the Internet, and peer-to-peer crypto-systems are notionally ‘democratic’ in this way. They subvert centralized governance, and they spread through horizontal contagion. The fact they have nothing at all to do with popular political representation is of concern only to certain rhetorical agendas, and not at all to others. It’s sophistical pop-capitalist bullshit to use the word democracy in this way, but it’s usually not worth the trouble for the Left to try to contest it, and the part of the Right that isn’t excited to be riding this propaganda strategy is usually too indiscriminate to bother disentangling it. There’s a rare piece of ‘right-wing’ functional PR here, but never enough to matter very much (and it’s too essentially dishonest for the Outer Right to defend).

Unlike Democracy® (Cathedral ideology), however, this ‘democratization’ has deep cybernetic consistency. It falls out of techno-capitalism with such automatic inevitability it’s probably impossible to shut down, without closing down the whole thing. Capital escalation produces technological deflation as a basic metabolic by-product, so the ‘democratization’ of productive capability is ineluctable. Computers have migrated from exotic capital goods to trivial components of consumer products within half a century. Study that trend and you see the whole story.

Deterrence deflation is the deep trend. Connect up the Yudkowsky quote with assassination markets to get where this is going. (Try to shelve moral squeamishness until after you’re seeing the picture.)

Imagine, hypothetically, that some maniac private agent wants only to nuke Mecca. What’s the obstruction? We can confidently say — straight off — that it’s less of a problem with every passing year. The basic historical trend ensures that. Comparatively incompetent Islamic fanatics are the only people seriously testing this trend right now, but that isn’t going to last forever. Eventually smarter and more strategically-flexible agents are going to take an interest in decentralized mass-destruction capability, and they’ll provide a far better indication of where the frontier lies.

Nukes would do it. They’re certainly going to be democratized, in the end. There are probably far more remarkable accelerating WMD capabilities, though. In almost every respect (decentralized production capability, development curve, economy, impact …) bioweaponry leaves nukes in the dust. Anyone with a billion dollars, a serious grudge, and a high-end sociopathy profile could enter into a global biowarfare-threat game within a year. Everything could be put together in secret garages. Negotiations could be conducted in secure anonymity. Carving sovereignty out of the game would require only resources, ruthlessness, brilliance, and nerves. Once you can credibly threaten to kill 100,000,000 people all kinds of strategic opportunities are open. The fact no one has tried this yet is mostly down to billionaires being fat and happy. It only takes one Doctor Gno to break the pattern.

This is the shadow cast over the 21st century. Radically hardcore, massively decentralized deterrence games are simply inevitable. Anyone who thinks the status quo state holds some kind of long-term winning hand under these circumstances isn’t seeing anything.

Global totalitarian government could stop this! But that isn’t going to happen — and because it isn’t, this will.

April 22, 2016admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy

Sentences (#48)

provide resources from space, to grow businesses in space … (DSI)

Continue Reading

April 11, 2016admin 11 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Chaos Patch (#109)

(Open thread + links (with some post-holiday backlog clearance))

Natalism is hard. Contradictions of right-wing activism (relevant). Inequality. Tribal competition. Civilization is brittle. Recent attention on the Alt-Right (viz 1, 2, 3), plus pushback. NRx and Akhenaton (perhaps, plus). “Political discourse is fundamentally shot.” Moldbug at Amazon. The weekly round.

Caeseropapism, sacred rites, and wishcasting. A pwned pope (plus).

Capitalism and intelligence (1, 2, 3). Owned markets. The Thing that cannot be named. “… our current ‘capitalism‘ is far from being capitalistic …” Capital under populist pressure (also). Business as magic. The new astrologers. Legal slavery. Commodity crunch. Brexit and the city.

The Indo-Pak trigger-zone. Syria in ruins. Tet in Europe. US proxy civil war watch. Imprisonment and Islam in France. Integration is provocative. The Dutch referendum. Cover-up uncovered. Lights out in Venezuela. “Print technology, the first mass media, facilitated the formation of nations, and the Internet is now undermining nationalism.” Fueling the flames. Feel the Bern.

Ethnogenesis. Jonathan Haidt interviewed by Tyler Cowen. Polarization. Collective punishment. Minority report. Socialist Neocam (for Canadians). Like the fall of the Roman Empire, but worse. Googleplex. Altruism addicts. The bubble test. Borders are bad (relevant).

Trump and his fans have broken the Overton window, and there is no going back.” Trump unbound. Accelerationists for Trump? Meme-war. Call of the wild.

Henry Harpending RIP (1, 2, 3). Cognitive mismatch (plus 1, 2). Another Thing that cannot be named. Noticing is still bad. Regression to the mean. Dark Darwinism. CRISPR cometh. Molecular synthesis. A programming language for cells. Hypercycles.

Don’t disrespect Uranus. Planet Nine is over-rated. More black holes. Level-1 multiverses (+). Simulation quandaries (+).

Computational mathematics. Urbit’s difficult road. The arms locker. Wirehead 1.0. Whisper systems. Malware media.

On Cyberpunk. John Dee and imperial myth. Medieval machine-books.

April 10, 2016admin 48 Comments »
TAGGED WITH : , , , , , , , , , ,

Greatness IIc

Short but utterly mind-melting.



The story.

Probably not — except by competitive coincidence — a response to this, but it works as one. This is turning into the most inspiring epoch of visionary plutocracy since the late 19th century. Even the Washington DC + Wall Street parasite hub is unable to blot-out the signal.

More SpaceX chatter.

April 9, 2016admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Technology
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

Modernity in a Nutshell

Two revolutions:

(1) Techno-economic self-propelling change obsolesces ever wider swathes of humanity on a steepening curve. Capital (i.e. techno-commercial synthesis) tendentially autonomizes. For humans, there are ever more intriguing opportunities for synergistic attachment, on new terms, but the trend is — to put it very mildly — ‘challenging’.

(2) Jacobin political violence, modeled on the French Revolution, provides the basis for demands aimed at a redistribution of the (capitalist) productive spoils through explicit extortion. All socio-political history in the modern epoch falls into compliance with this pattern. It coincides quite exactly with ‘democracy’ in its modernist usage. Universal Basic Income is its natural telos.

To the extent that there has been an equilibrium between these twin processes, it is coming apart. All the pol-economic innovations of recent years, on the Left and Right, are indicators of this accelerating disintegration.

So the options are these:

Both (1) and (2) is the Status Quo (delusion).
Neither (1) or (2) is Reaction (also delusion).
(1) against (2) is the Neo-Modern Right.
(2) against (1) is the Neo-Modern Left.

Those are the only slots available.

Fernandez concludes:

The technological revolution is going to pose increasingly serious challenges to nearly every Western social democratic society. People are either going to be really angry when they discover there’s no patronage or angrier still when they discover they have to provide the “basic income” for everybody else. Only one thing is relatively certain: the solution to these problems won’t be found in the ideologies of the early 20th century.

(It’s a theme.)

April 8, 2016admin 51 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Quote note (#234)

Here’s another bone for the local liberty crushers to gnaw at:

Countries as varied as Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and Botswana that experienced dramatic economic growth and prosperity all shared the following practices and institutions: private property rights, the rule of law, low costs of market entry, and trade liberalization. All of these variables are critical components for an economically free environment that encourages entrepreneurship and wealth creation. […] In sum, if there are no sound institutions in place, namely private property rights and the rule of law, economic prosperity is virtually impossible to achieve no matter how many brilliant people and natural resources your country has.

Heritage is (mostly) measuring the right things.

March 22, 2016admin 49 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Quote note (#226)

It would be gratuitously provocative to summarize this as ‘Conrad on HRx’ — but still. Here he is, in The Secret Agent (Chapter VI), exploring the thought-processes of the unnamed aristocratic “lady patroness of Michaelis” (an anarcho-communist):

It was as if the monstrosity of the man, with his candid infant’s eyes and a fat angelic smile, had fascinated her. She had come to believe almost his theory of the future, since it was not repugnant to her prejudices. She disliked the new element of plutocracy in the social compound, and industrialism as a method of human development appeared to her singularly repulsive in its mechanical and unfeeling character. The humanitarian hopes of the mild Michaelis tended not towards utter destruction, but merely towards the complete economic ruin of the system. And she did not really see where was the moral harm of it. It would do away with all the multitude of the “parvenus,” whom she disliked and distrusted, not because they had arrived anywhere (she denied that), but because of their profound unintelligence of the world, which was the primary cause of the crudity of their perceptions and the aridity of their hearts. With the annihilation of all capital they would vanish, too; but universal ruin (providing it was universal, as revealed to Michaelis) would leave the social values untouched. The disappearance of the last piece of money could not affect people of position. She could not conceive how it could affect her position, for instance.

Conrad understood why Tories are even less trustworthy than Whigs.

March 4, 2016admin 19 Comments »

A Correction

Just noticed that I’ve been accused of having “anthropomorphized capital” (by NBS). Gnon, no!

The point is this: If you think there’s a difference between capitalism and artificial intelligence you’re not seeing either at all clearly. The Austrians already understood that capitalism is an information processing system, and the decentralized robotics / networks types on the other side grasp that AI isn’t going to happen in a research lab. ‘Anthropomorphism’ has nothing to do with it. Complex Adaptive Systems are the place to start.

If you even vaguely understand what a convergent wave is, you’ve got most of what you need to discuss the topic, but if you haven’t read this classic you’re probably wasting everyone’s time.

ADDED: A (left-wing) Marxist discussion of the topic (and one that leaves most Neoreactionary musings in the dust).

January 26, 2016admin 117 Comments »