A wave of excellent posts at Nydwracu’s place recently. At the crest is this, a critique of the capitalist thing as an Unfriendly Institutional Intelligence (UFII). I’d been meaning to run something off the article initially cited, which is fascinating. As Nydwracu shows, its implications extend much further than its foregrounded argument.
As already briefly tweet-sparred, I’m skeptical about the description of Capitalism as an institution (or set of institutions), since any sociological category is inadequate to its mechanism in profundity. Capital, like fire, is something humans do, but that does not make it reducible to the ways humans do it. In its ultimate cybernetic diagram, Capitalism is a cosmic occurrence, and only very derivatively an anthropological fact. (This is not, of course, to deny that capitalism is destined to have been by far the most important anthropological fact). As a cause, human thedes can be interesting. As a cognitive horizon, they are simply weakness. It isn’t always — or even very often — about us.
Like Capitalism, the Cathedral is a self-organizing, distributed intelligence with emergent post-anthropomorphic features. Unlike Capitalism, it has no intrinsic competence at self-resourcing, and thus relapses continually into to compromise, contradiction, and exhortation. The Cathedral has a complex spiritual message it is inextricably bound to, but Capitalism has only one terminal law: anything that can feed itself gets to live. The pre-adaptation to rough times that comes with this goes without saying (and is usually left unsaid). Unlike the Cathedral, Capitalism doesn’t chat to us much at all. It’s message channels, meaning those communication circuits not dedicated to machine code, consist of tradable ad space. To devote them to preaching would look bad on a balance sheet somewhere.
(Much more on this as the war heats up.)
Note-1: ‘Feeding itself’ includes funding its self-protection. This is a cost-point that is almost certain to grow.
Note-2: Capitalist message channels are, of course, open to preaching that pays. The essential point is that, in contradistinction to the Cathedral, such second-party messaging or first-party PR is irreducibly cynical. When an emergent AI talks to you about morality, you’d be a dupe to weep.