GETTING “REKT” AND THE LIMITS OF INDIVIDUALISM
1. BITCOIN, LIBERTARIANS AND “FREEDOM”
freedom to libertarians is to bear the consequences of one’s actions regardless of the effect it has on wellbeing. that is, freedom is the desire to live with the consequences of one’s preferences without increasing the burden on others within a given group, who might be forced to share the burden of a “bad” individual’s choices or irrational preferences. in gregory mitchell’s words, it is objectionable to ardent libertarians that ‘rational persons bear […] the costs of paternalistic changes to the preferences of irrational persons.’ i.e. personal welfare assurances from Big Nanny Other negatively impact on rational individuals’ freedoms, to the betterment of the irrational (2010 p. 1271). this is bad i assume because richard dawkins said so.
of course one might consider what rational enlightenment hegemony has done for most of the developing world, but that would be a serious digression. besides, chomsky already what done this. also that book called liberalism: a counter-history.
actually, now that i think about it, i’ll get to this — in some detail i hope — later in this essay.
ostensibly, the key draw of bitcoin is that it is decentralised. “decentralisation” to ardent libertarians, bitcoin enthusiasts, is tantamount zero regulation. so it goes, regulation imposes constraints on one’s ability to self-actualise, to live with the consequences of one’s behaviour, and to act in accordance with one’s preferences. that is, freedom is the freedom to make mistakes, and part of that freedom is to spend money how you like, for example on images of child abuse (incidentally, see this article), which perhaps to libertarians has no effect on the self-actualisation of its victims. of course bit-libs might maintain the “as long as no harm comes to others” rejoinder to such criticisms, and thus claim the child-harm consequence of unregulated self-actualisation outside of the remit of libertarianism (i.e. child abusers are Not True Libertarian Scotsmen); but in all seriousness, one can question if this is really the case, an accurate rejoinder, considering the overlap of libertarian ideals with the proclamation “uhh, actually sir ,,, technically it’s ephebophilia”, and various other wrong opinions. recall that cancerous article that appeared along the lines of ‘where’s the property rights in consent?’.
2. CENTRALISATION: THE CONSEQUENCE OF DISREGULATION
as bit-libertarians are beginning to find, what happens when capital is left to regulate itself is that it centralises, that it accumulates. in other words, they have decreasing amounts of control and power (i.e. actualisation) within their chosen ecosystem as power becomes concentrated, and prices – the thing they really care about, i should add – seem increasingly volatile (decrease sharply). further, they have no means of redress for the centralisation of power due to a lack of governing framework, any power intermediary, which could step in to protect the rights of the less powerful, the average basement “day” “trader”. further, profits are more likely to be made by the powerful, which ever increases power, siphoning out the hodlings of the bitproles. put simply, one can move the markets by trading with themself (wash trading; insider trading; trading between cooperative parties), but only of course if they have sufficient capital mass.
let us briefly consider this in more detail, the formulation of a pump and dump scheme, and how the process itself has been commodified, harming those who have no capital power within the given economic system.
first, a pump and dump scheme is announced on social media, without specifics; then its proponents move to discord or telegram (i.e. “private” chat systems). from there, they seek out further people who want to join the pump and dump. those outside the core group, who want to know the exact details and timings of the manipulation, must pay a fee to join. with some groups, once inside, one might pay additional fees, often laid out in tiers, e.g. bronze, silver, gold, super premium, to receive information ahead of other members. members can recruit their own team, against whom they have a competitive advantage, and to whom they control the flow of information.
“leaders” then move to pump the coin, placing a large amount of buy orders at a certain, arranged price. then, moving outward in structure, people in the group move to place large orders above those initial orders. those unaware are of course forced to pay an inflated price, and, to those without insider knowledge, a rosy picture emerges – investing in a rapidly expanding market, if it is natural, is of course a decent, rational proposition. upon hitting an unknown price target set by the group’s leaders, as subsequently distributed by the leaders, each member of the scheme tries to cash out simultaneously, once the price information is revealed, in line, most probably, with each member’s tier within the group operating. obviously, not everybody within the scheme can escape on time, and profit, especially after the various “knowledge” taxes and group fees are paid. those who stand to gain the most are those who can affect the largest initial price movements and thus charge (‘tax’) according to their power; logically, this is those with the most capital in the given system.
left to unwind, this “market” results in life savings of bitproles disappearing over the course of a month (“getting rekt”, so they call it), perhaps overnight. either because they were unaware of the schemes, refused to participate, were mislead by the market, or have decided to, unmovingly, leave their coins on an exchange indefinitely, with no intention ever to cash out, realise their losses. funnier, those shorting bitcoin are liquidated by a sudden, deliberate pump of the market, by those who knew it was coming, and “speculated” as such. note that exchange owners trade on their own exchanges and have access to their own books i.e. they can place fake orders, buy from themselves. they also have sufficient real capital mass to affect market prices to cause shorts or longs to liquidate at will. there is currently no operational power structure to prevent this behaviour, that was made illegal by 1930s commodities trading regulation in america, trading which will no doubt soon be prosecuted, however. further, that these things trade internationally subjects them to increasingly large regulatory frameworks, not “none at all”, as i have been told by many a redditor. regardless, it is not a legal grey area: it is illegal to operate internationally, nationally, without complying with each respective jurisdiction’s legislature.
one should also note, i.e. this is what i think: these people are operating within the incentive structure of capital, and entirely predictably – it is not that they are bad or “greedy” eggs, but that their behaviour is incentivised by the very forces of capital itself; capital accumulation is a “natural”, perhaps more accurately ‘material’ byproduct of unregulated capital without redistributory framework. if this were not the case, you would need an accounting of existence and self-actualisation that separates a person’s material circumstance from their ability to enact choice-preferences. consider that it’s easy for me to claim to be generous and lawful when it is easily within my means to be. in other words if you’re rich enough you can park where you like.
recall that, as i have described it, freedom to ardent libertarians ‘is the desire to live with the consequences of one’s preferences without increasing the burden on others within a given group’, so as to prevent the unwanted redistribution of self-actualisation’s consequences (be it good or bad) to the ‘irrational’ from the ‘rational’. one might notice a gap opening up in libertarian ideology. (and as a brief point consider that often consequence in late capitalism is in the form of capital (financial…) punishment, be it in legal fees, fines, or whatever). to spell it out, that one’s quality of self-actualisation may well be negatively affected through the self-actualisation of other individual’s choices as a natural and predictable consequence of disregulation should be of concern to libertarians, at least if they are actually serious about achieving their ideology’s ostensible goal: freedom to act, and to bear the consequences of those actions above all else, without harming others, conjoined with real negative consequence that punishes irrationality and rewards rationality. perhaps the tension between harming others the consequences of free capital movement are not as separable as the ardent individualist claims. this is all without mentioning that objective rationality (i.e. radical centrist paradise) is hard to pin down, and by definition the hegemonic “middle ground” is conservative, in that it favours the status quo as is.
the above speculation is perhaps made true in light of the individualist experiment that is the crypto “market”; it is in turmoil as a result of capital accumulation, and malicious actors, acting well within their rights as individuals pumping the levers of capital. anything that would redistribute their power in that ecosystem would constitute a tax; and tax, to ardent libertarians, is theft.
indeed large accumulated wads of coins are being sold off, tanking the price, thus making it unprofitable to mine, “produce” said coins; and, the same people who are selling, are speculating against those sells, for massive gains, resulting in a larger concentration of capital, further able to shift the markets. and, as briefly covered, malicious actors, malicious exchanges, large stake holders – “whales” – all act “together”… meaning ultimately that only the bitproles be the ones gambling, in effect. that is, and to frame it in terms that a libertarian might understand, the average joe, through no fault of his rationality, at least none that falls to some form of personal accountability beyond that he could perhaps have known the extent of the corruption to which he surrendered himself (through no doubt an entangling of one thousand biases, including the one that wants to wrestle back from neoliberalism his or her lost wages of ten percent, in real terms, since margaret thatcher milk snatcher got involved), is denied self-actualisation and is thus harmed by the choice-preferences of others; and the barrier to the bitproles self-actualisation is the disregulation of capital in the given ecosystem, i.e. reconsider your ideology, shitheads.
i have mentioned the problem as “disregulation”, or that the coin is completely unregulated. however, given the above, what falls naturally out from disregulated capital is actually a highly regulated market, by capital.
one might consider marx’s proposal that within capitalism is embedded its antithesis, revolution and collapse. evidence for such a theory is perhaps found in current “decline” of cryptocurrency.
as marx uhh sort of argues, perhaps proves, capitalism is a system that has within its structure embedded its antithesis: collapse. that is, within capitalism, the drive for short term profits, there’s contained its death: unsustainable greed in the need for ever increasing (short term) growth, growth that is by its very nature destructive. despite my earlier tentative assertions, this is actually easily provable. one need only look to the market’s contemporary solutions to the very real problem of climate change: fund think-tanks to deny its existence; hide evidence of its existence, found as early as the 1960s by oil companies; keep burning oil, deregulate the oceans; keep pesticides killing bees; and so on and so on, until we are all dead.
the welfare state at least was set up as a partial solution to the ratcheting effect of capital centralisation, as aristotle, that dangerous radical, knew, and more recently, the founding fathers held, publicly – were i sober at the time of adding this rejoinder to the above paragraph, i should do well to put something here about “protecting the opulent minority from the masses” that that american said who was a person. madison? to prove this point — that this is the function of the welfare state, of democracy — will take quite the deviation. i hope i will be up to the task.
3. TANGENT: THE ‘CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY’ AND THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION 1975; INDIVIDUALISM, NEOLIBERALISM AS THE “SOLUTION” TO THE STYMYING OF CAPITAL ACCUMULATION BY THE WELFARE STATE
let us, with the above in mind, turn to history. specifically, the 1975 trilateral commission’s report, document, thing, back to which we can trace the the flourishing of contemporary neoliberal hegemony, i.e. individualism, as the reactive backlash to social, egalitarian gains made by those ‘hippies‘ in the 60s – of neoliberalism, as is, certainly it was crystallised in the chicago school in the 1950s, and culminated in the washington consensus, 1989, perhaps not conincidentally the year the soviet union collapsed (though formally dissolved in ’91 if i recall correctly), thus bringing about fukuyama’s proclamation re: the ‘end of history’, when the “socialist” gun that held its pistol to the head of global capitalism was finally lowered; indeed, the new deal of the 1930s was certainly a reaction to the worker’s revolution in russia, 1917…
anyway so allow me to point you toward a section of the document here; further note, that many of those who wrote this document went on to staff the carter administration, and that, if i’m to further place it in its historical context, we should remember that the quote-unquote ‘crisis of democracy’, as mentioned, comes largely after mass protest that, among other things, fought doggedly for minority rights, desegregation, and the end to the brutal, destructive vietnam war.
so, turning to the document itself, against which i’ll comment, we can learn a few things about contemporary individualistic hegemony, atomisation, order, the 1980s, etc:
At the present time , a significant challenge comes from the intellectuals and related groups who assert their disgust with the corruption, materialism, and inefficiency of democracy and with the subservience of democratic government to “monopoly capitalism.” The development of an “adversary culture” among intellectuals has affected students, scholars, and the media. Intellectuals are, as Schumpeter put it, “people who wield the power of the spoken and the written word, and one of the touches that distinguish them from other people who do the same is the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs.”
that an intellectual (whatever that means) might be ignorant with regards to the implications of their personal and societal responsibilities is laughable. further, if you’ll bear with it, they’re about to contradict themselves directly in the next paragraph:
In some measure, the advanced industrial societies have spawned a stratum of value-oriented intellectuals who often devote themselves to the derogation of leadership, the challenging of authority, and the unmasking and delegitimation of established institutions, their behavior contrasting with that of the also increasing numbers of technocratic and policy-oriented intellectuals. In an age of widespread secondary school and university education, the pervasiveness of the mass media, and the displacement of manual labor by clerical and professional employees, this development constitutes a challenge to democratic government which is, potentially at least, as serious as those posed in the past by the aristocratic cliques, fascist movements, and communist parties.
note the lament of the development of ‘value-oriented intellectuals’. further, consider the implications: persons are becoming too educated, by intellectuals, who do not teach conformity; recall the racist, sexist status quo against which public intellectuals railed… also note that there lies no consideration that the institutions ‘unmasked’ could well be in fact illegitimate, instead, there lies only a point that said intellectuals are wrong to ‘unmask and delegitimise’ said institutions.
In addition to the emergence of the adversary intellectuals and their culture, a parallel and possibly related trend affecting the viability of democracy concerns broader changes in social values
— ‘changes in social values’ e.g. the civil rights movement… —
In all three Trilateral regions, a shift in values is taking place away from the materialistic work-oriented, public-spirited values toward those which stress private satisfaction, leisure, and the need for “belonging and intellectual and esthetic self-fulfillment.”
— should we be so insane as to want ‘belonging and intellectual and esthetic self-fulfullment’… —
These values are, of course, most notable in the younger generation. They often coexist with greater skepticism towards political leaders and institutions and with greater alienation from the political processes. They tend to be privatistic in their impact and import. The rise of this syndrome of values is presumably related to the relative affluence in which most groups in the Trilateral societies came to share during the economic expansion of the 1960s.
— i add here, again, that they mean to condemn the civil rights movement, of course; note too the contempt with which they hold young people —
The new values may not survive recession and resource shortages. But if they do, they pose an additional new problem for democratic government in terms of its ability to mobilize its citizens for the achievement of social and political goals and to impose discipline and sacrifice upon its citizens in order to achieve those goals.
and we should place this next to the document’s conclusions:
[…] the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups.
and accordingly it continues with a direct warning of integrating ‘blacks’.
In the United States, the strength of democracy poses a problem for the governability of democracy in a way which is not the case elsewhere. In the past, every democratic society has had a marginal population, of greater or lesser size, which has not actively participated in politics. In itself, this marginality on the part of some groups is inherently undemocratic, but it has also been one of the factors which has enabled democracy to function effectively. Marginal social groups, as in the case of the blacks, are now becoming full participants in the political system. Yet the danger of overloading the political system with demands which extend its functions and undermine its authority still remains. Less marginality on the part of some groups thus needs to be replaced by more self-restraint on the part of all groups.
4. THERE’S SOMETHING TO THE LEFT OF THE GUARDIAN? THE DEATH OF DISCOURSE
through no fault of his own my brother looked at me in shock the other day when i told him that the guardian is not particularly left wing.
and too you would be hard pressed to find a contemporary neoliberal subject who can tell his social democrat from his libertarian anarchist from his posadist (lol); her maoist from her marxist-leninist from her dirtbag leftist. the claim here is not that you should know the difference, but only that they exist – indeed left-ward opinion exists on a spectrum; that is, there exists a position to the left of tony blair who went to war something like five times in something like ten years. such a position already alienates him from a significant portion of the “real” “left”, who are ardently anti-interventionist, anti-war; more: there are those on theft who are in favour of brexit, because, so it goes, the free movement of labour allows for the transnational exploitation of the working class; there are those on the left who are against corbyn, because he is not a communist, and advocates for legislation and social democracy above revolution; there are those on the left who denounce wage labour as essentially slavery; there are those on the left who think we should abolish the police and the state and the military since they serve largely to prosecute and incarcerate minorities, who are disproportionately affected by policies such as ‘broken windows’ in the united states; there are those on the “dirtbag left” who disavow themselves of identity politics and instead send pictures of their asshole to various conservative commentators on twitter in between actually going out and fighting a real war; there are those on the left who really dislike liberals, centrists (who are often considered “the left”) precisely because their coopting of identity politics and The Left merely puts a friendly face on the same oppressive dogma, shit, without actually having the balls to do anything about current power structures, status quo (martin luther king was particularly hot on this point) – consider that some might genuinely find hillary clinton’s “third way” politics, years of opportunistic power grubbing, non-sexistly, genuinely, hatefully disgusting. you would know none of this of course if you listened exclusively to ben shapiro, sam harris, milo, joe rogan, jordan “lobster lover” peterson, or read the guardian, the new york times, the atlantic, etcetc.
neoliberalism, which is essentially a form of state-controlled passive-subject libertarianism lite (perhaps embodied in the oxymoronic ‘libertarian paternalism’, though without the profit incentive for the focus on wellbeing that the latter ‘paternalism’ implies; there will never be a profit incentive for wellbeing, i imagine, only profit), advocates for the dismantling of the state to a bare bones architecture that presents consumers, subjects, with the most “choices” as provided to them by private capital, which competes with itself to provide the lowest prices, which ultimately means a ‘race to the bottom’ for the lowest prices of wages, as those who own the means of production seek to lower prices below “competitors” and increase profits; ultimately this results in the precariat. as mentioned, aristotle and madison argue that the purpose of the state is to redistribute capital to prevent violent revolution, thus protecting private property from the grabbing hands of the impoverished, who should, if given enough, have no material reason to lash out; one might consider then the revolutionary implications of implementing an ideology with little redistributive framework, that actively curtails redistribution and thus encourages capital accumulation.
the current assault on public institutions is evidence of neoliberal hegemony, as well as the immediate shut down enacted by one’s friends when trying to present them with a genuine critique of capitalism that isn’t immediately dismissed as “edgy”, or ‘yeah, so, that’s just the way things are’. teleologically, this has the upshot for the neoliberal subject of having to do nothing about the circumstance of their fellow subjects, and it absolves them of the burden of any actionable moral responsibility, or of having to consider their position within an oppressive structure; i.e. “there’s nothing i can do so therefore i can do nothing”. one might recall the trilateral commission’s assessment here that democracy to function requires a distinct apathy on the part of its subjects; and so in neoliberal hegemony, apathy is actively reinforced by its subjects on any of those who dare to criticise; and such things of course are not new: martin luther king was generally unpopular with the centrists of his day, who thought he should keep himself to himself – it was only in retrospect that his message was coopted as part of america’s grand narrative of fairness and goodness, as seen in that disgusting football car advert or whatever. how quickly we forget his critique of american imperialism and the economics that enabled it…
regardless of your politics, one needs to answer, however, how their, the capitalists, present status quo is going to be maintained much longer in the face of the market’s failure to do anything about the problems inevitable in its incentive structure, as exemplified in the 2008 financial crash; and more worryingly the forthcoming and currently happening crisis of climate change, resulting in mass migration from asia as the world, as destroyed by profit, becomes increasingly uninhabitable.
so too is cutting taxes a problem for preserving the status quo, if that is what you want; civil unrest is not usually the result of irrational dogma, as the united states would have us believe, but flowers from rational complaints with regards to lacking personal material circumstances, that is usually out of the protesting subject’s control – otherwise, quite obviously, were the subject to be able to act in accordance with their preferences no doubt they would be acting out those preferences over protesting not being able to act them out… protesting is the last port of call, perhaps, before violent revolution, or at least mass civil unrest, which is why “left” accelerationists tend to only half-ironically support trump’s plans to redistribute wealth upwards in the form of massive tax cuts for the already disgustingly wealthy.
‘i believe you should keep the money you earn’, ‘tax is theft’, is often the sentiment here trotted out, but one should really consider the material circumstances in which they, the believer of such things, are allowed to earn money and then ask in what capacity that framework has allowed them to accumulate capital to the point where they have so much of it that their having to part with some of it is merely an annoyance, rather than a very tax on their existence, as is the case with the impoverished when they have to pay for food out of their wages – i.e. i would hope for a moment they consider the society they no longer want to be a part of as a framework for their profit; the roads they drive on, the NHS their mother used when she gave birth, the police who continue to “protect” their property rights; – these were all paid for by taxes – don’t forget the wars that subsidise the price of oil in the car that you drive to work.
anyway, that the state is an outdated mode of production and wealth redistribution, is inefficient, is largely a neoliberal myth, used to justify its unpopular dismantling, and redistribute wealth upwards, when state assets are sold for a fraction of what they generate in income. the most egregious case of this was perhaps in russia post-collapse in the 90s. but it happened everywhere, see: neocolonialism. it makes sense that, as with cryptocurrency, capital accumulation leads to oligopolistic, monopolistic, “unfair” (yet predictable) business practice. as is the case with capital control over washington in the form of the “intractable” gun debate, that has been solved elsewhere… one need only look to the unpopularity of the repeal of net neutrality to reveal that you get what you’re given in late capitalist society, regardless of the negative consequence that has on the market, the inefficiency that causes, and in the face of overwhelming consensus that such behaviours are wildly inefficient, unpopular, predatory; i.e. nobody wants it and it gets done anyway.
indeed the observation from chomsky that tax day should, in fact, be a day of celebration, where we all go out in the street and celebrate pooling our money so that little timmy and friends can get operations on their brain tumours, or learn about pythagoras, is only further indicative of a general state of dejection within current hegemony.
i speculate perhaps wrongly here, because i understand that also right-leaning persons can be deeply selfish and out of touch, and want to understand their position as of their own making rather than a complicated upward swing of material forces (mostly) beyond their control, placing them atop a pile of third world bodies, and exploited flesh and labour.
accordingly, perhaps, neoliberalism is essentially the publically acceptable transmutation of class warfare; if one is to pay less tax then by definition one is to keep more of the surplus value of the labour exploited within the given ecosystem – if you baulk, here, i would only ask you to consider richard wolf’s point that, at a job interview, as soon as your wage is negotiated with your boss, you have entered into an agreement that you will produce for the company a value higher than your negotiated wage so that they can take that surplus and give it out the the people higher up the chain than you, either in the form of bonuses, or reinvestment – reinvestments that are likely spent on technology provided by companies that operate on a similar structure of “negotiated” oppression. that is to say, what is so different about the economic system through which you intend your earnings to trickle down and the one in which you have been allowed to amass disproportionate amounts of capital (or just ‘profit’)? regardless of your intuition, the current economic consensus is wildly against you. trickle down economics is a relic of neoliberalism and retains currency because it allows one to clear their conscience of wage theft, the detrimental effects of wealth redistribution upward as a predictable consequence of that dismantling, albeit in a round about manner; further, it allows one to blame the poor for their circumstance and claim credit for their own material prosperity; even further, it allows the ruling class to continue handing themselves tax cuts as is, with popular support from “common sense” economics that claims, a penny saved is a penny earned, despite the fact that no startup trying to expand has ever asked for less money when trying to enact expansion… that is, it confirms the moral acceptability of the current status quo, and allows a disquiet mind to be quieted, for just a little longer.
of course if one is to accept all this as true, and despite that pursue the neoliberal agenda, they very much have earned the monicker ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaire’ and i look forward to freezing to death with them in the coming nuclear winter ,,, send tweet.
to drop a paper that is interesting: libertarian paternalism, itself considered a “hot topic” (hausman and welch 2010, p. [front page; can’t be bothered to follow the link and log in again]) in that it advocates “hands-off” governance by benevolent elites, whose job it is to protect us from ourselves, the unwashed masses, is basically the elitist ostensibly conscionable version of neoliberalism; it allows power to think their is no alternative but their power and thus ostensibly beneficent leadership is necessary and unavoidable, within the immutable power structures materially inevitable via the modern tyranny of the workplace. i.e. “there is really no other way; better keep doing that war and shit, sorry guys also you are signed up to emails from dominos pizza by default!” – this is about where we find the guardian, incidentally.
in this context it is interesting to note, in the mentioned paper, hausman and welch’s disavowal of having to consider the effect of choice architecture as managed by private capital, which subsequently has proved somewhat hilarious, and as the recent cambridge analytica “scandal” has shown, private capital has taken libertarian paternalism to its capitalist extreme. that the following sentiment made it in to a peer reviewed article without embarrassment is indicative of the currently radically blinkered overton pinhole.
[…] we shall focus on the limits that ought to be imposed specifically on government action, in part because it is difficult to see how to implement limits on persuasive techniques employed by non-governmental agents. What makes the cacophony of invocations of irrational responses by non-governmental agents tolerable (to the extent that it is tolerable) are, we suggest, the limits to its effectiveness and the extent to which these invocations conflict with one another and cancel one another out.
(hausman and welch 2010, p.131)
so written there, and in english, hausman and welch (not sure which one) mean to say that marketing, private capital has no power to ‘shape’ an individual’s choices because ‘the cacophony’ of private capital’s many instances ‘conflict with one another and cancel one another out’. “there’s just so much capital and it is all equally powerful!!!”. which is also to presume wrongly, perhaps maliciously, perhaps ignorantly, that the two – private capital and government policy – are entirely separable under neoliberal hegemony, neocolonialism, capital accumulation.
and of course, now that trump has been elected it must surely be the case that some outside spoOoOOOoOoky statist force, i.e. the russians, have had a corrupting effect on our otherwise pure and clean western democracies. thus trump is not a symptom but an aberration. just perhaps, the power of capital to target individuals and change their minds, or at least appeal to those who are “persuadable”, through the “cacophony” of its many conflicting instances, that is, who are feeling dejected in late capitalism, is and was always possible.
… ultimately … given all this, “democracy“, as is, and thus, through some eyes, especially The Real Left’s, merely protects the rich from the poor, and acts to preserve the status quo — as the ‘crisis of democracy’ 1975 shows, and too the move towards neoliberal hegemony in the 80s onwards, the ‘crisis’ was to the ruling elite’s a loss of power, and the threat of real representative democracy, as brought about by mass civil disobedience.
moreover, when my brother turns to me quizically at the very idea that something exists to the left of the guardian, i am very much aware that they won.
5. COMFORTABLE BASEMENT-DUDES COME IN CONTACT WITH THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE ABOVE FOR THE FIRST TIME, PROBABLY
more like ‘the crisis of capitalism’ amirite? uhhduhh as i’ve mentioned, 2008 was indirectly “predicted” by marx (obviously in reality people argue, disagree about this kind of thing all the time e.g. marx “quipped” that he wasn’t a marxist), as a consequence of the 1980s, 1975 and neoliberalism, unregulated capital, capital accumulation. again, as aristotle and madison argued, the poor should be given just enough by the state materially to survive their chains, which supplements their wage labour i.e. the profits of capitalists, so that they can continue to feed and serve the ever hungrier mouths of the ruling class, the class with the most power, the class that if one is a radical, steals their surplus value. though perhaps it was inevitable that the capitalist would become so greedy as to dismantle the last effective means of control they had over the subservient poor, as soon as they started to derive its benefits, to protest and begin to cast off their chains. though now to what extent technology (be it of warfare or other) has the power to keep people tuned out is probably of relevance to the ‘material-inevitability-of-collapse’ question, in a way it was not applicable to marx in the 19th century…
how all – i mean all – this unravels with regards to libertarian ideology is clear. in complete disregulation you find the weak get nothing back; that is, starving people to death with austerity is politically unsustainable, because eventually you have to deal with some kind of revolution. this is a point argued by mark blyth in his book, austerity: the history of a dangerous idea, i’ll add here.
so what the fuck does this have to do with bitcoin? consider that this is probably the first time some of these internet libertarian chud-nerds are coming into contact with overt and obvious systemic limitations as imposed on them against their will by laissez faire individualism, spelt out in a clear and distinct manner, i.e., the giant fucking red line on their computer screen that says, more or less, YOU GOT OWNED THROUGH NO MECHANISM OVER WHICH YOU HAD ANY CONTROL (and which promised so much ante-the-big-red-line). perhaps, i speculate, this is the first time in which they have had to deal with the consequences of market deregulation that has affected their material circumstances in a way that is obvious to them.
no amount of bootstrapping will make the price of their cryptos increase.
they literally are powerless to watch their life savings, student loans disappear into the hands of the “ruling class” (we are speaking of course relativistically here).
6. CALLS FOR REGULATION; THE LIMITS OF INDIVIDUALISM REALISED
so in line with marx (probably), capital accumulation, “disregulated” (that is, controlled by the rich) bitcoin markets have become so centralised and controlled that the regular investors, those now without power to affect the markets, are being hurt, substantially, to the extent that they are now driven towards the exits by their losses. their material (online lol) circumstance is so bad as to impact on their self-actualisation (which i guess in this space is to get money and spend it on shit) and belief in their libertarian ideals. and they have become conscious of this… and want change, or to find a new market. the thing is thus collapsing.
further, they are starting to realise that private capital and its accumulation has a similar outcome to the perceived faults of that which they fear: government centralisation, socialisation, worker solidarity, paternalism, taxes.
here, at least i hope, they might start to realise the benefits of some kind of… society? perhaps, just perhaps, all it will take for these libertarian chuds to understand the basic premise of socialism is a personal loss. spelt out in big fat red lines.
the sweetest irony, the complaint that i find most funny is the recent call to ban or make useless machines (ASICs) that are cost prohibitive for the average underpants trader to buy, but are so efficient at farming cryptocurrency that they are, according to “the community”, causing the price of coins (in fiat; one bitcoin is still worth one bitcoin; what a store of value!) to tank, and will monopolise the farming (…production) of crypto… in their wake, it will potentially become only profitable for those who own these machines to participate in mining cryptocurrency, machines paid for no doubt by their initial mining of bitcoins and manipulation of the markets. these profits will be reinvested into more crypto, and thus capital accumulation will continue. bitcoin has a worse gini coefficient than north korea, incidentally.
consider the implications of a bunch of libertarians organising to resist the forces of capital taking over the means of production and whe might conclude that… i’ll leave that up to you.
or maybe i won’t. so it would seem that decentralisation and deregulation are fine when it suits the power status quo, contributes to profits of libertarians. but, as soon as it actually hurts their bottom line, and they understand that libertarian ideology might have actual negative personal consequences we see something of a reversal.
i would ask them only how one might go about regulating completely “free” capital. and further, how one might prevent it from accumulating into power.
thus they might consider their individualistic dogma something fatally flawed.
none of this is to say that the state is, per se, the best solution to the problem of capital centralisation, accumulation. and here of course we can remember “the” “left”‘s various suggestions, which, of differing compatibilities, might include (only some of these are about coins (lol)):
- abolish private property, capital, coins, i.e. get a new hobby nerds.
- democratise the means of production (end the tyranny of the workplace).
- hold actually representative elections, staff power with actually accountable persons, who implement some kind of agreed upon framework to prevent systemic collapse.
- redistribute all farmed coins, impose regulation, communalise the costs of farming coins.
- create an elected governing body that is representative of public coinage, and regulates the markets. this wouldn’t be hard to do online and transnationally (see: the internet).
- keep funding the welfare state to protect the poorest in society by actually taxing people and by increasing the velocity of money.
- defund and gut the state, thus bringing about revolution faster.
- harmonise man’s nature of the earth with the cosmos by encouraging a first nuclear strike so that aliens can come down from a future socialist planet and save us all from the tyranny of capital by uploading us to computers beep boop this might have already happened just kidding but how do you KNOW.
- end, dismantle unwanted, unjustified power structures, organise again, have elections, whatever.
- unionise, socialise, communalise…
- not elect an asshole.
- seize the private property of whales and redistribute it amongst the bitproletariat.
- seize “the exchanges”.
- do away with legislation that protects private capital’s effectiveness with regards to manipulating the state (in america, the world’s big hegemonster).
- go and live in the woods, smell the mushrooms etc.
1) Mitchell, G. (2005) ‘Libertarian paternalism is an oxymoron’, Northwestern University Law Review, vol. 99, no. 3, pp. 1245–77. libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=17706479&site=ehost-live&scope=site
2) Hausman, D.M. and Welch, B. (2010) ‘Debate: to nudge or not to nudge’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 123−36. http://dx.doi.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/10.1111/j.1467-9760.2009.00351.x
3) fukin nerds