Archive for the ‘Commerce’ Category

Economic Ends

“The economists are right about economics but there’s more to life than economics” Nydwracu tweets, with quote marks already attached. Whether economists are right about economics very much depends upon the economists, and those that are most right are those who make least claim to comprehension, but that is another topic than the one to be pursued in this post. It’s the second part of the sentence that matters here and now. The guiding question: Can the economic sphere be rigorously delimited, and thus superseded, by moral-political reason (and associated social institutions)?

It is already to court misunderstanding to pursue this question in terms of ‘economics’, which is (for profound historical reasons) dominated by macroeconomics — i.e. an intellectual project oriented to the facilitation of political control over the economy.  In this regard, the techno-commercial thread of Neoreaction is distinctively characterized by a radical aversion to economics, as the predictable complement of its attachment to the uncontrolled (or laissez-faire) economy. It is not economics that is the primary object of controversy, but capitalism — the free, autonomous, or non-transcended economy.

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January 11, 2014admin 69 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Neoreaction
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The Internet of Money

In an article that might be the most important contribution to the understanding of Bitcoin since its launch, Eli Dourado writes:

[Bitcoin] is a currency, of sorts. You can spend it on things, especially drugs and gambling and getting around capital controls. Krugman and other economists have analyzed Bitcoin in these terms, as a substitute for dollars. This is rather like regarding the Internet as a substitute for, and not a quantum leap beyond, previous communication technologies. It is true that Bitcoin can substitute for other currencies, but as with the Internet, the abstraction of a permissionless application layer means that it is much more than a substitute: it is like a transport layer for finance.

Every Bitcoin transaction is defined in part by a bit of code, called a script, written in a programming language called Script. The script in one transaction defines how the next user can access the coins. In a conventional transaction, the script specifies the hash of the public key that is needed to spend the coins next, and demands a signature from the corresponding private key.

Script is not limited, however, to these conventional transactions that merely transfer coins from one person’s control to another’s. It can evaluate statements, execute conditionally, do math, and move bits around. It is not a Turing-complete programming language (there is no looping), because that would be a security risk; we do not want viruses to spread via Bitcoin’s blockchain, nor do we want Bitcoin transactions to run indefinitely or, if we ever figure out AI, become self-aware. Despite the lack of loops in Script, it can be used to construct some very interesting scripts. … 

Sometimes ratchets work right.

ADDED: In the comments thread to the article, Eli Dourado suggests: “It’s … possible that democracies won’t respond effectively against Bitcoin because they don’t respond effectively to much of anything.”

January 10, 2014admin 11 Comments »

Atlas Mugged

As part of the ongoing celebrations of Prophecy Month at Outside in, we present a (short) three part series by Lars Seier Christensen of Saxo Bank on the historical prescience of Ayn Rand (one, two, three). While some distance from high theory, even the most Rand-averse should be able to take something interesting away from this series, whether by considering it as a significant ethnographic — and even religious — phenomenon, or by appraising it as a structured forecast. The foundations (laid in part one) certainly seem realistic enough: “… free capitalism has not really been experienced by many people alive today. […] The strange hybrid of western societies … allows only limited capitalism to create enough wealth to support a wider range of political and social ambitions, largely controlled by anti-capitalists.”

Christensen asks: does the world look increasingly like the politically saturated, anti-capitalist stagnatopia she envisaged? If the evaluation of Rand is restricted to these terms, her claim to attention seems assured.  The conclusion:

If we don’t succeed in changing the values and direction of at least the next generation, I fear the full prediction of Atlas Shrugged will become reality and while that may hold some promise for the distant future, it is not something that I think people of my age feel like going through if we can avoid it.

Given the Cathedral — which is to say, pedagogical (and propagandistic) anti-capitalism in power — Christensen’s hope for a generational shift in “values and direction” sounds like a prayer to a dead God. That leaves only Cassandra, and tragic truths.


January 8, 2014admin 6 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Political economy
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Time Spiral Press

There’s nothing there yet. (Putting the link up was an irresistible opportunity to torture myself.)

When things start happening, I’ll make some kind of noise about it.

December 10, 2013admin 7 Comments »

Monkey Business

A protracted to-and-fro on Twitter with Michael Anissimov has exposed some deliciously ragged and bleeding faultlines in the Neoreaction on the question of capitalism. There were a number of parties involved, but I’m focusing on Anissimov because his position and mine are so strongly polarized on key issues, and especially this one (the status of market-oriented economism). If we were isolated as a dyad, it’s not easy to see anybody finding a strong common root (pity @klintron). It’s only the linkages of ‘family resemblance’ through Moldbug that binds us together, and we each depart from Unqualified Reservations with comparable infidelity, but in exactly opposite directions. (As a fragmentationist, this fissional syndrome is something I strongly appreciate.)

Moldbug’s Neocameralism is a Janus-faced construction. In one direction, it represents a return to monarchical government, whilst in the other it consummates libertarianism by subsuming government into an economic mechanism. A ‘Moldbuggian’ inspiration, therefore, is not an unambiguous thing. Insofar as ‘Neoreaction’ designates this inspiration, it flees Cathedral teleology in (at least) two very different directions — which quite quickly seem profoundly incompatible. In the absence of a secessionist meta-context, in which such differences can be absorbed as geographically-fragmented socio-political variation, their raw inconsistency is almost certainly insurmountable.

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November 24, 2013admin 55 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Neoreaction , Political economy
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Quote notes (#43)

As a discussion trigger, dedicated to VXXC  (while awaiting something more substantially off-planet):

… we can see that the kind of libertarianism inherent in Planetary Resources is a far cry from the libertarianism of those who wish to see Tennessee opt out of Obamacare. That’s the difference between the Heinleinians and the Calhounians. The Heinleinians are reading technical papers and spreadsheets, not the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

Yet make no mistake—the Planetary Resourcers are fully revolutionary. None of them are interested in waiting around to see what the federal government is willing to do in space—although, in their pragmatism, they are willing to work with NASA. Still, it has surely has crossed the mind of these investors that there’s no EPA in space; indeed, space can be seen as one universe-sized enterprise zone.

The whole article is remarkably original and thought-provoking. (Outside in is sure to return to it when the trends and prospects of libertarianism stray back into the cross-hairs.)

November 17, 2013admin 14 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Cosmos


The Wikipedia entry on Plutocracy begins:

Plutocracy (from Greek πλοῦτος, ploutos, meaning “wealth”, and κράτος, kratos, meaning “power, dominion, rule”), also known as plutonomy or plutarchy, defines a society or a system ruled and dominated by the small minority of the top wealthiest citizens. The first known use of the term is 1652. Unlike systems such as democracy, capitalism, socialism or anarchism, plutocracy is not rooted in an established political philosophy and has no formal advocates. The concept of plutocracy may be advocated by the wealthy classes of a society in an indirect or surreptitious fashion, though the term itself is almost always used in a pejorative sense.

As befits theoretical virgin territory, this definition provokes a few rough-cut thoughts.

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November 6, 2013admin 59 Comments »

Quote notes (#40)

John Tamny, with a thought so pristine it requires no framing:

Federal default means the federal government will have less money to waste. If so, let’s get moving on defaulting.

October 21, 2013admin 15 Comments »

Hacked Matter

Contrary to appearances, I haven’t spent (much) of the weekend on retaliation against Kuznicki. Instead, I was peripherally involved in the Hacked Matter II conference, held in Shanghai’s Knowledge Innovation Community, where the state-of the-art discussion of 3D printing (additive manufacturing), DIY Bio, open-source hardware, and related topics takes place.

Like the personal computing and subsequent Internet revolution, these new copying technologies have massive decentralizing implications, and have already picked up impressive momentum. Key-note speaker Massimo Banzi (of Arduino) has already managed to get packaged chip boards into vending machines. By historical analogy, this range of physical stuff-hacking technologies seem to be somewhere in the late ’70s or early ’80s garage tinkering and pong stage, which suggests that a decade or two could be needed for their creative destruction potential to manifest.

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October 20, 2013admin 10 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Cosmos

Dark Techno-Commercialism

Each of the three main strands of neoreaction, insofar as they are remotely serious, attaches itself to something that no politics could absorb.

The reality of a religious commitment cannot be resolved into its political implications. If it is wrong, it is not because of anything that politics can do to it, or make of it. Providence either envelops history and ideology, subtly making puppets of both, or it is nothing. However bad things get, it offers a ‘reason’ not to be afraid — at least of that — and one the degeneration has no way to touch, let alone control.

Similarly, the Darwinian truths underpinning rational ethno-nationalist convictions are invulnerable to ideological reversal. A trend to racial entropy and idiocracy, however culturally hegemonic and unquestionable, does not cease to be what it is, simply because  criticism has been criminalized and suppressed. Scientific objections have significance — if they are indeed scientific (and not rather the corruption of science) — but politically enforced denial is a tawdry comedy, outflanked fundamentally by reality itself, and diverting events into ‘perverse outcomes’ that subvert delusion from without. What Darwinism is about cannot be banned.

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October 13, 2013admin 49 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Horror , Neoreaction