Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism’

Quote notes (#79)

Robert Kaplan explains ‘Why East Asia Alienates Intellectuals’:

… East Asia is a rebuke in major respects to the humanist project. It is prosperous and successful, with the latest postmodern infrastructure and technology; yet at a macro political level it is consumed less by universalist ideals than by old-fashioned ethnic nationalism. China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and so on are deeply conscious of their own ethnic identities, which carry within them clashing claims of sovereignty in the South and East China Seas, as well as elsewhere. East Asia shows how exclusivist mindsets need not be confined to poor, post-communist populations or poverty-stricken peoples with tribal or sectarian differences. East Asia is a flagrant example that sustained capitalist development need not necessarily lead to universal values.

Modernization without ethnomasochism isn’t something the Cathedral wants to understand.

May 5, 2014admin 21 Comments »

Future Mutation

Our first Time Spiral Press product is up on Amazon. (Yet to update the TSP site in recognition, though — Dunhuang and all.)

We put it up in a Jing’an District bar, over a few cocktails, which somehow rubbed-in the revolutionary aspect. It was hard not to imagine Rimbaud and his Absinthe-sozzled crew producing some delirious poetry and sticking it up on Kindle before the end of the evening. Amazon is going to disintermediate publishing so hard. In my experience, this fate never befalls an industry before it has abused its position to such an incredible extent that its calamity is necessarily a matter of near-universal celebration. Broadcast media, publishers, academia — into the vortex of cyber-hell they go …


April 10, 2014admin 4 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Philosophy


Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century argues that the normal tendency of capitalism is to increase inequality (the book has a link-rich page here, eleven reviews here). It’s not a theoretically-ambitious work, but it gets to the point, well-supported by statistics. The simple, Zeitgeist-consistency of the thesis guarantees its success.

Because Piketty’s claim is casually Marxist, the impulse on the right is to attempt a refutation. I very much doubt this is going to work. Since capital is escalating at an exponential rate, while people definitely aren’t (and are in fact devolving), how could the trend identified by Piketty be considered anything other than the natural one? Under conditions of even minimally functional capitalism, for sub-inert, ever more conspicuously incompetent ape-creatures to successfully claim a stable share of techonomic product would be an astounding achievement, requiring highly artificial and increasingly byzantine redistribution mechanisms. No surprise from Outside in that this isn’t occurring, but rather a priori endorsement of Piketty’s conclusion — only radically anomalous developments have ever made the trend seem anything other than it is.

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March 31, 2014admin 49 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Quote notes (#61)

Garett Jones on the Chamley-Judd Redistribution Impossibility Theorem:

Why isn’t Chamley-Judd more central to economic discussion? Why isn’t it part of the canon that all economists breathe in? Why isn’t it in our freshman textbooks? Part of the reason is surely mood affiliation — it’s an uncomfortable result for some to talk about as evidenced by the handwringing I see in most textbook treatments (exception here, big PDF, p.451). The result can’t be waved away as driven by absurd assumptions: It’s not too fragile, it’s too solid. It’s OK to teach Real Business Cycles since we all know (or “know”) that the Federal Reserve and aggregate demand really drive things in the short run. But to tell people that if we care about the long run, the tax on capital income — on interest, profits, dividends — should be zero? And to have only “exotic” counterarguments? Let’s just leave that for the more advanced courses …

(Thanks to Jim for the pointer. “The Chamley-Judd Redistribution Impossibility theorem is economists admitting Ayn Rand was right while trying to sound as if they are not admitting it.”)

February 16, 2014admin 20 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Romantic Delusion

Among the reasons to appreciate More Right for sharing this passage from Evola is the insight it offers into a very specific and critical failure to think. Neoreaction is peculiarly afflicted by this condition, which is basically identical with romanticism, or the assertive form of the recalcitrant ape mind. It is characterized by an inability to pursue lines of subtle teleological investigation, which are instead reduced to an ideal subordination of means to already-publicized ends. As a result, means-end reversal (Modernity) is merely denounced as an aesthetic-moral affront, without any serious attempt at deep comprehension.

Capitalism — which is to say capital teleology — is entirely ignored by such romantic criticism, except insofar as it can be depicted superficially as the usurpation of certain ‘ultimate’ human ends by certain others or (as Evola among other rightly notes) by a teleological complication resulting from an insurrection of the instrumental (otherwise identifiable as robot rebellion, or shoggothic insurgency). Until it is acknowledged that capitalism tends to the realization of an end entirely innovated within itself, inherently nonlinear in nature, and roughly designated as Technological Singularity, the distraction of human interests (status, wealth, consumption, leisure …) prevents this discussion reaching first base.

Of course, the organization of society to meet human needs is a degraded perversion. That is a proposition every reactionary is probably willing to accept reflexively. Anyone who thinks this amounts to a critique of capitalism, however, has not seriously begun to ponder what capitalism is really doing. What it is in itself is only tactically connected to what it does for us — that is (in part), what it trades us for its self-escalation. Our phenomenology is its camouflage. We contemptuously mock the trash that it offers the masses, and then think we have understood something about capitalism, rather than about what capitalism has learnt to think of the apes it arose among.

If we’re going to be this thoughtless, Singularity will be very hard indeed. Extinction might then be the best thing that could happen to our stubbornly idiotic species. We will die because we preferred to assert values, rather than to investigate them. At least that is a romantic outcome, of a kind.

February 9, 2014admin 34 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

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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The Left Done Right

The Diplomat‘s Zachary Keck is one of the smartest mainstream commentators writing today. He’s either an enemy to be respected, or a dark side infiltrator to be left undercover. In either case, he’s always worth reading.

Observing that democracy promotion no longer works, he advocates a Neoreactionary foreign policy as the only effective path to the eventual realization of Cathedralist goals. If this wasn’t a classic opportunity for Modernist means-ends reversal to show what it can do, there would be every reason to worry about being out-maneuvered. Zeck’s proposals are sufficiently cunning to raise the question: Who’s subverting whom?

One of America’s top foreign policy goals, particularly since the end of the Cold War, has been promoting democracy across the world. In the minds of American foreign policy elites, there are both moral and strategic imperatives for spreading democracy.

Regarding the former, Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, believe that liberal democracies are morally superior to other forms of government. As for the strategic rationale, American elites point to the fact that liberal democracies don’t go to war with one another, even if they aren’t any less warlike (and may be more warlike) when interacting with non-democracies. One can quibble with these rationales, but they are deeply held by American elites and, to a much lesser extent, Americans in general. […] But if the American foreign policy community is going to continue trying to promote democracy, it must come to terms with one simple irony: it has become less successful at spreading democracy even as it has made democracy promotion a greater priority in U.S. foreign policy.

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December 9, 2013admin 29 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy , World


This comment thread wandered into a discussion of science, of considerable intricacy and originality. The post in question is focused upon Heidegger, who has very definite ideas about natural science, but these ideas — dominated by his conception of  ‘regional ontologies’ — are not especially noteworthy, either for an understanding of Heidegger’s principal pre-occupation, or for a realistic grasp of the scientific enterprise. For that reason, it seems sensible to recommence the discussion elsewhere (here).

The first crucial thesis about natural science — or autonomous ‘natural philosophy’ — is that it is an exclusively capitalist phenomenon. The existence of science, as an actual social reality, is strictly limited to times and places in which certain elementary structures of capitalistic organization prevail. It depends, centrally and definitionally, upon a modern form of competition. That is to say, there cannot be science without an effective social mechanism for the elimination of failure, based on extra-rational criteria, inaccessible to cultural capture.

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July 12, 2013admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Uncategorized