Mammon - Far from representing rationality and logic, capitalism is modernity’s most beguiling and dangerous form of enchantment - Yes, OP is autistic.

Drain Todger

Unhinged Doomsayer
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
What compels you to do this shit? You seemed to have gotten a clue since your humble beginning of doomposting walls of text about COVID as some totally unqualified fat sperg ferry operator on a site for laughing at people. You even dunked on an even bigger retard in the @BoxerShorts47 thread and won over some supporters. Then you plop out a TLDR stale turd about how capitalism is the root of all evil.

Come on nigger.

What? I didn't write the linked essay. It was written by Eugene McCarraher. I was actually trying to make a point that his essay was too dense and unreadable for the average reader, which is what people would have noticed if they'd bothered to read my segment past the divider:

Very florid prose. One can’t read passages like “pecuniary transubstantiation“ without giggling a little.

Mind you, this is the kind of thing that humanities professors write, and this is what they teach. If people are standing around, scratching their heads and wondering why the kids are messed up, that’s because they haven’t examined the curricula.

I was making a point that this type of writing is inaccessible academic sperging. In order for writing to have impact with most people, it has to get to the point, and it has to be at about a 4th-grade level on the Flesch-Kincaid scale.

Just for shits and grins, I threw that article into a Flesch-Kincaid readability checker, and it said grade level 17. The author is a show-off. They're showing us that they have a thesaurus and they're not afraid to use it.

Since this is Kiwi Farms, I'm well aware that saying anything remotely negative about capitalism, or that Marx said anything remotely of worth, will immediately get you marked with "commie bad". This post will mostly go unread just as the opening post has.

The birth of capitalism is admittedly an interest of mine, particularly in its relation to religion. For what it's worth, I do think that the emphasis that it could have only happened under the Protestant Reformation, and Calvinism in particular, is somewhat overstated (this is a common talking point among tradCaths). Markets and systems of finance clearly existed before the Protestant Reformation, especially in the Italian peninsula. Now, could that development have happened without some rebellion towards official Church teaching (i.e. usury, just prices)? That, I'm not so sure of, and I do think that the Church and Throne definitely had a vested interest in preventing merchants and financiers from getting out of hand. Even then, these systems of commerce and finance played a largely auxiliary role to the feudal relations of pre-modern Europe. This is another important point: merchants in virtually all pre-capitalist societies were despised.

One thing that a lot of people don't understand, especially Americans, is that the way industrial capitalism really took off in the 19th century was a distinct break from the way virtually all societies were run, and it was not universally appreciated. While I think Karl Polanyi does over-exaggerate certain things, it is no mistake to call it a Great Transformation. Most people are surprised to learn that private property in the strict sense is a relatively recent invention, monetary transactions were very few rather than the basis of all social relations, commons played an important role in all societies, and that wage labor was not the norm until really the 20th century, and before then was almost universally hated from all sides. This shift will inevitably uproot the social basis of societies, and will most certainly create a corresponding "double-movement" against it. No social framework like capitalism will so reliably produce discontent wherever it is introduced. One thing that critics of capitalism are most certainly right about is that the loneliness we feel nowadays is basically exclusive to modernity and is largely the result of a hyper-individualistic society with a high division of labor and fragmented families and communities. Conservatives are well aware of this fragmentation and try to revive feelings of Gemeinschaft to act against it, despite allying with the very forces that create it.

This. There have, at varying times, been congruent strains of thinking in left-wing and right-wing discourse, vis a vis economics. Both attack the sense of alienation caused by consumerism and the atomization of the community, but from different angles. Progressives aim to dismantle the upper class and revive the welfare state. Conservatives want a return to the nuclear family, nationalism, and traditionalism.

The right-wing critique of the "consoomer bugman" whose life seems purposeless except for striving to obtain the next generation of Apple Watch is striking in its similarity to the alt-globalist thinking of the left during the 1990s, where people railed against sweatshops and the exploitative business practices of multinational corporations. However, the Left have increasingly jettisoned this sort of ideology in favor of identity politics, pushing them off into a psychotic fringe of race-baiting and abandoning the class struggle in favor of narratives based on intersectionality.

Socialism, then, is in many ways a reactionary movement because it is seeks to reconstitute those sames bases of pre-capitalist societies with many of the benefits of the industrialized world. It's largely about the process of having your cake (the lack of alienation, economics of reciprocity, hallmarks of the past) and eating it (clean water, food security, modern medicine, things that basically did not exist before capitalism). There was once a remark I read from a commentator, with which I agree, that the way young people have taken to socialism has less to do with a redress to poverty but rather a creation of a new world that acts as an antidote to the loneliness and purposelessness that seems to be omnipresent under modernity. The problem is that Socialism also has a very weak definition of Gemeinschaft. A society bound together as the children of God is a much stronger one than one tied together solely on the "brotherhood of man". It is no mistake that virtually all secular intentional communes fail while religious are more likely to succeed.

Also this. Some of the most successful intentional communities are the ones with a religious and traditionalist basis. Secular communes are too fractious and have too many fault lines to cohere into a purposeful whole.

Many Millennials often complain that they don't feel like their job has any social impact. This is because they each, individually, think that their actions and expressed beliefs should have a measurable effect on their environment. A sort of solipsism and narcissism has set in, where people are deceived by pop culture and mass media propaganda into believing that they are the plucky protagonists of a YA novel, and all they have to do is tug on a certain thread to unravel the villain's evil plan and save the world. Note how saving the world, in this sense, is often framed as returning it to a more pristine, primal state of innocence and defeating the evil mad scientist or industrialist or whatever. It's a common refrain. There are very few myths where the scientist and the industrialist are the heroes. Everyone lives in the clutches of modernity, but they resent it. They want to cut loose. They want to be innocent and beast-like, like the revelers at Burning Man, but they still want the benefits of depressing, regimented organization. Modernity is Frankenstein's Monster. A product of a mad necromancer, dredging up bits of culture and assembling them piecemeal into the perfect being.

Everywhere you look, bureaucracy has wormed its way into our lives with meaningless credentialism and paperwork. Philosophical opposition to bureaucracy has petered out to nothing. It has become taboo to speak ill of it. It's the one thing you cannot criticize. It is treated as an invisible, omnipresent, divine force beyond the reckoning of men. Civil servants have become a priesthood, always out of reach and always above reproach.


Yes, my generation want to feel like heroes, but their job isn't to be a hero. Their job is to work. To be cogs in this bureaucratized, triple-stamped, notarized, wax-sealed machine. The trouble is that they were lied to, during the entirety of their formative years, about what their work is and what it accomplishes. Moreover, as they grow increasingly disillusioned with their jobs, carrot-sticked by the false promise of financial security, they start to notice that what they're actually doing is burdening the planet with their existence.

What we're seeing, right now, are thousands of people who don't want to feel like a burden, who are desperate for affection, a sense of purpose, and, hell, the next paycheck so they can eat and pay rent. What connects them? What do they have in common? Buying things. Just buying things to declare their allegiance to a brand. How can someone base their entire identity around consuming? The very emptiness of it would haunt them everywhere they go. The reason for this is quite simple. The things we purchase can never reciprocate our affection. You can't use a new car or a new phone or a new watch as a surrogate for a healthy connection to a healthy community.

1595858127478.jpg

Corporations want to divide people from their communities, from their support networks, from their ethnic and cultural groups, and from their families. They want to divide people so they can use consumerism as a kind of surrogacy for real bonds between people.

The CHAZ in Seattle was a perfect example of what I mean. A bunch of people gathered together in one place, aiming to make an intentional community. They all hated each other. They didn't have any useful skills. They were all more attached to their own possessions and baubles than they were to each other. Of course it would fail. Why would people expect an entire generation raised on iPhones and Starbucks lattes to be good at farming in a park? They've fetishized communism without ever considering the abandonment of their atomized mindset. They don't want to actually be communists. They just want the dopamine rush of consuming, and they want it all the time. They are already hopeless addicts; non-functional, with no agency outside the system.

As for the article itself, I think Eugene McCarraher gets a little carried away as many of the romantic Catholic types are wont to do. I've read a few other articles by him (not his book, which is around 800 pages), as I have ran around in that whole tradcath scene, and his romanticism can blind him. I distinctly remember him at one point saying he rejected that scarcity and homo economicus as two principles of economics, two principles that I think are largely legit. And I think his conceptions of the pre-capitalist past is a little too rosy and ahistorical, which one would expect from someone who uses the English Romantics as his guide. I highly doubt that European peasants were all little William Blakes who took Catholic sacramentalism to the level of animism and pantheism in all things. Not to mention that the praise you get from the guilds from these types is pretty ahistorical as well. Workers, tradesmen, and work itself were basically despised in the middle ages, not as an indignity suffered to the worker but rather a sign of the moral inferiority of those participated in it. One thing that both Socialism and Capitalism share is that both see work as a fundamentally good and honorable thing, which was a distinct break from the past. And in any case, all these quaint little tradesmen with their arts and crafts still exist. Also, he gets a little carried away with Commodity Fetishism, a pretty simple concept that commodities appear to possess qualities of their own while masking the relations of production that went into them, by turning it into some weird sacramental nonsense. Also, German Romantics > English Romantics. Give me Sturm Und Drang, no wandering lonely as a cloud.

With all that being said, capitalism defenders are 100% unequipped with answering many of the moral and social dilemmas that accrue under capitalism. By and large, economics has become totally untethered from any notion of human needs and desires, and it's beginning to show. People want a secure, purposeful life, and no amount of economic growth can account for that. A few have tried by highlighting some of positive benefits of not just the prosperity but the principles behind capitalism as possessing moral qualities (Tyler Cowen, Deirdre McCloskey). While I found them entertaining, they were also completely disconnected from "actually existing capitalism".

Lastly, I'd like to ask my fellow Kiwis who had such a knee-jerk reaction to the OP to humor me and answer a few questions.
1. Would your rather work for yourself or receive a monetary payment by working form someone else?
2. How do you foresee people reforming close communities under the current economic paradigm?
3. Why are rural communities floundering while urban communities flourishing under the current economic paradigm?
4. Why does globalism happen? Why do companies outsource?
5. Do you think that the very rich genuinely share your interests?
6. Like it or not, Socialism as a viable alternative has returned from the grave. Why is that?

I think one of the most pressing issues of the next couple decades will be the impact of automation further diluting the value of labor. People have downplayed this for years, insisting that there is no way that their job can be done by a mere machine, and yet, artificial intelligence and neural networks are encroaching on what we thought of as intellectual labor as we speak. GPT-3, for instance, can write rudimentary code when given a description of a website. Microwork tasks are being used to train AIs and improve cloud services.


It isn't hard to imagine that, at some point in the future, "cornucopian" tech may allow for prosperity without labor. Where, then, does the wage laborer receive a wage from? Perhaps the next stage of society is something akin to a Resource-Based Economy, where goods are a common, shared utility.

People derive a lot of their sense of self-worth from their work. If people spend all their time being babysat by machines, then a sense of alienation and existential dread most profound will set in. I fear that our descendants will turn towards drugging the humanity out of themselves to avoid this. We can already see evidence of that right now. How many of us are on SSRIs because of how purposeless our lives feel?


On the other hand, menial labor seems to waste a lot of untapped potential. How many people are slaving away on assembly lines today, who, given the right opportunity, could have been great scientists, authors, scholars, painters, musicians, and so on? Are we depriving society of the benefits of their intellectual labor by foisting menial labor on them instead, or is the untapped potential illusory and their intelligence inadequate to realize any real gain were they liberated from work?

I mean, think about it. Try and imagine a society without work. What would people do? How would they stay sane? How would they build a legacy while avoiding thinking about death?

These questions, and many more, have bothered me for quite some time, now.

He's right in premise: unfettered capitalism, and more recently, woke capitalism makes a society of hollow consoomerist bugmen, who consider nothing sacred (except maybe junk like their vidya games and funkopops).

But he's wrong in conclusion. Socialism is a proven death cult.
View attachment 1477455

I agree. State socialism is vile. It takes all the power and wealth of competing interests in a capitalist society and condenses it into a single ruling party whose only real opponent is the teeming masses. The end result is the diminishment of liberty for the many, all for the benefit of the few.

KYS tovarich

I've always considered myself more of a Veblenite than a Marxist. I think Stalinism and tankies are disgusting.

Thorstein Veblen was awesome and must be read by everyone to understand the mess we're in.

I've found that Thorstein Veblen's name is something of a Fnord. Nobody can actually see his name in a debate. If he is brought up, then the topic will typically be abandoned altogether in moments, as if he doesn't actually exist. It's amazing. I've broached the topic of his writings with numerous neoliberals over the years and they completely refuse to discuss him.

What makes this even more incensing is that his books are in the public domain and freely available.




Thorstein Veblen made some very interesting observations about capitalism. To condense them down:
  • The wealthy purchase expensive goods for the sole purpose of displaying their wealth, something that he termed conspicuous consumption. If you've ever encountered someone who was like "Guess what? I got a new iPhone", then you've encountered conspicuous consumption. Their sole purpose for informing you about their purchase was to raise their status and your estimation of them.
  • Business owners must engage in what he termed the "conscientious withdrawal of efficiency" if they are to survive. That is to say, no business can afford to produce a good in such excess as to make it essentially free. Any excessive machinery must be sold, any excess workers must be laid off. Capitalism automatically and reflexively retards efficiency and increases scarcity on purpose according to the laws of supply and demand so that goods have value.
Modern economies are essentially a vicious cycle of conspicuous consumption and planned obsolescence. We purchase goods to demonstrate allegiance to a certain branded product, like Apple or Samsung, Ford or Chevrolet, Xbox or PlayStation, and so on. These goods are designed to be promptly made obsolete in the span of one or two years, so the act of conspicuous consumption can occur many, many times in a row. Electronics are furnished with new and more powerful hardware taking advantage of advances in manufacturing processes. Cars are given styling facelifts to make them look different from their predecessors, not necessarily better. Last year's clothes are cut up and tossed in the bin.

I do not advocate for communism or the redistribution of wealth. What I am taking aim at is the ritualized destruction of wealth that our society engages in on a continuous basis. Every good that ends up in a landfill, every object that is replaced instead of repaired, everything that is recycled instead of up-cycled or donated--that object represents someone's congealed labor that was tossed right down the drain in order to maintain the ritual of "growth".

Families used to have dynastic wealth. People used to inherit things. They didn't slave away continuously so they could buy the same disposable objects over and over again in a weird Sisyphean exercise. My favorite analogy is the razor. Back in the day, people bought straight razors, practiced with them, kept them sharp and stropped, and they used the same razor for years and years. These days, people buy a pack of a dozen disposable razors and the blades rust and become unusable in a matter of weeks. Heirloom objects have been supplanted by disposable plastic junk.

Imagine a society that produced incredibly durable objects that almost never needed replacing. The economy would contract. Growth would reverse. Our carbon footprint would decrease, since we wouldn't be moving so many disposable goods around by container. If humanity as a whole practiced such frugality, then the surplus labor could be turned towards other aims. Those freed from menial labor could instead contribute intellectual labor.

Yet, at the same time, such a society would be in the worst depression ever by our standards; physically rich, but monetarily poor.


Neoliberalism is destroying our natural capital for the sake of the strange exercise of making numbers go up. The world's reserves of minerals are being depleted one after another. Aquifers are being drained and arable land is turning into desert from over-farming. Trees are over-harvested; the world's forests are being cut down to make more agricultural land which, in turn, is turned into desert from soil loss. What are our descendants expected to inherit? Human activity is aiming to turn Earth into a barren ball of rock with mile-high mountains of garbage.

Why does America even have a homeless problem? We throw away enough wealth every year to buy every homeless person in America a home. $165 billion dollars of unsold food. $55 billion dollars worth of materials in electronic waste. That's $400,000 for each of the 552,000 homeless people in the US. Our trash contains enough wasted value to buy over half a million people a home. And a nice home, too. Why did people labor to farm that food and produce those electronics if they were just going to end up thrown away?

Try and think about what it would take to put an end to mindless hyper-consumerism and waste, and the institutional structures that support it. Not just the consooming itself, not just an alteration of mankind's habits, but actually getting rid of the clerical jobs that manage the consooming, the wasteful services that help those clerical workers manage the consooming, the transportation that supports consooming, and all the way on down the line, until you have something resembling sustainability.

Our global society is controlled by a tiny, elite cadre of uber-wealthy parasites who don't provide anything of value to us at all. They privatize their gains and socialize their losses. They use nonprofits as their PR agencies, and they funnel tons of money towards political causes that advance their goals and hand them ever-increasing amounts of wealth and power. They spur humanity towards wasteful consumerism, growth, and profit, and they skim off the top. They fund wars and back warmongers. They keep us all divided and squabbling among ourselves so we don't turn on them and tear out their throat. That's all they do, all day; figure out ways to skim a little more and skim a little more, until they have amassed huge fortunes and the rest of us are living in cuckbarrels and repurposed shipping containers. They are robbing our descendants of their own opportunity to have a decent standard of living, all for their own temporary gain. The result is a society that routinely discards enough wealth in the garbage to give large swathes of the population a sizable dole.

Imagine how insulted the workers of the world must feel, to know that their sweat, blood, and tears are literally going into landfills.

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus' punishment was to roll a boulder up a hill for all eternity. This is what modernity has wrought. A Sisyphean society that exists for the sake of the Work-Ritual, with financiers and bureaucrats as its clergymen.

Maybe humanity will one day take our heads out of our asses and realize that at some point, the work is supposed to stop and you're supposed to take a breath and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Medieval peasants had more leisure time than we do. They fucking tilled the fields half the year, and spent the other half lounging around doing next to nothing. These days, people are lucky if they get 15 days of paid vacation a year, and the rest of the time, they're slaving and wagecucking like mad so some prick can buy a second Lamborghini.


From coast to coast, the US is full of overworked basket cases increasingly turning to psychiatrists and social workers and begging them for pills to escape the misery and futility of their existence. That's just another way to extract value. They work you to the bone just so they can sell you chemical relief from the misery they put you in.

Who in God's name thinks any of this is healthy or sane? Who?
 

Y2K Baby

The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom???
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
What? I didn't write the linked essay. It was written by Eugene McCarraher. I was actually trying to make a point that his essay was too dense and unreadable for the average reader, which is what people would have noticed if they'd bothered to read my segment past the divider:



I was making a point that this type of writing is inaccessible academic sperging. In order for writing to have impact with most people, it has to get to the point, and it has to be at about a 4th-grade level on the Flesch-Kincaid scale.

Just for shits and grins, I threw that article into a Flesch-Kincaid readability checker, and it said grade level 17. The author is a show-off. They're showing us that they have a thesaurus and they're not afraid to use it.



This. There have, at varying times, been congruent strains of thinking in left-wing and right-wing discourse, vis a vis economics. Both attack the sense of alienation caused by consumerism and the atomization of the community, but from different angles. Progressives aim to dismantle the upper class and revive the welfare state. Conservatives want a return to the nuclear family, nationalism, and traditionalism.

The right-wing critique of the "consoomer bugman" whose life seems purposeless except for striving to obtain the next generation of Apple Watch is striking in its similarity to the alt-globalist thinking of the left during the 1990s, where people railed against sweatshops and the exploitative business practices of multinational corporations. However, the Left have increasingly jettisoned this sort of ideology in favor of identity politics, pushing them off into a psychotic fringe of race-baiting and abandoning the class struggle in favor of narratives based on intersectionality.



Also this. Some of the most successful intentional communities are the ones with a religious and traditionalist basis. Secular communes are too fractious and have too many fault lines to cohere into a purposeful whole.

Many Millennials often complain that they don't feel like their job has any social impact. This is because they each, individually, think that their actions and expressed beliefs should have a measurable effect on their environment. A sort of solipsism and narcissism has set in, where people are deceived by pop culture and mass media propaganda into believing that they are the plucky protagonists of a YA novel, and all they have to do is tug on a certain thread to unravel the villain's evil plan and save the world. Note how saving the world, in this sense, is often framed as returning it to a more pristine, primal state of innocence and defeating the evil mad scientist or industrialist or whatever. It's a common refrain. There are very few myths where the scientist and the industrialist are the heroes. Everyone lives in the clutches of modernity, but they resent it. They want to cut loose. They want to be innocent and beast-like, like the revelers at Burning Man, but they still want the benefits of depressing, regimented organization. Modernity is Frankenstein's Monster. A product of a mad necromancer, dredging up bits of culture and assembling them piecemeal into the perfect being.

Everywhere you look, bureaucracy has wormed its way into our lives with meaningless credentialism and paperwork. Philosophical opposition to bureaucracy has petered out to nothing. It has become taboo to speak ill of it. It's the one thing you cannot criticize. It is treated as an invisible, omnipresent, divine force beyond the reckoning of men. Civil servants have become a priesthood, always out of reach and always above reproach.


Yes, my generation want to feel like heroes, but their job isn't to be a hero. Their job is to work. To be cogs in this bureaucratized, triple-stamped, notarized, wax-sealed machine. The trouble is that they were lied to, during the entirety of their formative years, about what their work is and what it accomplishes. Moreover, as they grow increasingly disillusioned with their jobs, carrot-sticked by the false promise of financial security, they start to notice that what they're actually doing is burdening the planet with their existence.

What we're seeing, right now, are thousands of people who don't want to feel like a burden, who are desperate for affection, a sense of purpose, and, hell, the next paycheck so they can eat and pay rent. What connects them? What do they have in common? Buying things. Just buying things to declare their allegiance to a brand. How can someone base their entire identity around consuming? The very emptiness of it would haunt them everywhere they go. The reason for this is quite simple. The things we purchase can never reciprocate our affection. You can't use a new car or a new phone or a new watch as a surrogate for a healthy connection to a healthy community.

View attachment 1477513

Corporations want to divide people from their communities, from their support networks, from their ethnic and cultural groups, and from their families. They want to divide people so they can use consumerism as a kind of surrogacy for real bonds between people.

The CHAZ in Seattle was a perfect example of what I mean. A bunch of people gathered together in one place, aiming to make an intentional community. They all hated each other. They didn't have any useful skills. They were all more attached to their own possessions and baubles than they were to each other. Of course it would fail. Why would people expect an entire generation raised on iPhones and Starbucks lattes to be good at farming in a park? They've fetishized communism without ever considering the abandonment of their atomized mindset. They don't want to actually be communists. They just want the dopamine rush of consuming, and they want it all the time. They are already hopeless addicts; non-functional, with no agency outside the system.



I think one of the most pressing issues of the next couple decades will be the impact of automation further diluting the value of labor. People have downplayed this for years, insisting that there is no way that their job can be done by a mere machine, and yet, artificial intelligence and neural networks are encroaching on what we thought of as intellectual labor as we speak. GPT-3, for instance, can write rudimentary code when given a description of a website. Microwork tasks are being used to train AIs and improve cloud services.


It isn't hard to imagine that, at some point in the future, "cornucopian" tech may allow for prosperity without labor. Where, then, does the wage laborer receive a wage from? Perhaps the next stage of society is something akin to a Resource-Based Economy, where goods are a common, shared utility.

People derive a lot of their sense of self-worth from their work. If people spend all their time being babysat by machines, then a sense of alienation and existential dread most profound will set in. I fear that our descendants will turn towards drugging the humanity out of themselves to avoid this. We can already see evidence of that right now. How many of us are on SSRIs because of how purposeless our lives feel?


On the other hand, menial labor seems to waste a lot of untapped potential. How many people are slaving away on assembly lines today, who, given the right opportunity, could have been great scientists, authors, scholars, painters, musicians, and so on? Are we depriving society of the benefits of their intellectual labor by foisting menial labor on them instead, or is the untapped potential illusory and their intelligence inadequate to realize any real gain were they liberated from work?

I mean, think about it. Try and imagine a society without work. What would people do? How would they stay sane? How would they build a legacy while avoiding thinking about death?

These questions, and many more, have bothered me for quite some time, now.



I agree. State socialism is vile. It takes all the power and wealth of competing interests in a capitalist society and condenses it into a single ruling party whose only real opponent is the teeming masses. The end result is the diminishment of liberty for the many, all for the benefit of the few.



I've always considered myself more of a Veblenite than a Marxist. I think Stalinism and tankies are disgusting.

Thorstein Veblen was awesome and must be read by everyone to understand the mess we're in.

I've found that Thorstein Veblen's name is something of a Fnord. Nobody can actually see his name in a debate. If he is brought up, then the topic will typically be abandoned altogether in moments, as if he doesn't actually exist. It's amazing. I've broached the topic of his writings with numerous neoliberals over the years and they completely refuse to discuss him.

What makes this even more incensing is that his books are in the public domain and freely available.




Thorstein Veblen made some very interesting observations about capitalism. To condense them down:
  • The wealthy purchase expensive goods for the sole purpose of displaying their wealth, something that he termed conspicuous consumption. If you've ever encountered someone who was like "Guess what? I got a new iPhone", then you've encountered conspicuous consumption. Their sole purpose for informing you about their purchase was to raise their status and your estimation of them.
  • Business owners must engage in what he termed the "conscientious withdrawal of efficiency" if they are to survive. That is to say, no business can afford to produce a good in such excess as to make it essentially free. Any excessive machinery must be sold, any excess workers must be laid off. Capitalism automatically and reflexively retards efficiency and increases scarcity on purpose according to the laws of supply and demand so that goods have value.
Modern economies are essentially a vicious cycle of conspicuous consumption and planned obsolescence. We purchase goods to demonstrate allegiance to a certain branded product, like Apple or Samsung, Ford or Chevrolet, Xbox or PlayStation, and so on. These goods are designed to be promptly made obsolete in the span of one or two years, so the act of conspicuous consumption can occur many, many times in a row. Electronics are furnished with new and more powerful hardware taking advantage of advances in manufacturing processes. Cars are given styling facelifts to make them look different from their predecessors, not necessarily better. Last year's clothes are cut up and tossed in the bin.

I do not advocate for communism or the redistribution of wealth. What I am taking aim at is the ritualized destruction of wealth that our society engages in on a continuous basis. Every good that ends up in a landfill, every object that is replaced instead of repaired, everything that is recycled instead of up-cycled or donated--that object represents someone's congealed labor that was tossed right down the drain in order to maintain the ritual of "growth".

Families used to have dynastic wealth. People used to inherit things. They didn't slave away continuously so they could buy the same disposable objects over and over again in a weird Sisyphean exercise. My favorite analogy is the razor. Back in the day, people bought straight razors, practiced with them, kept them sharp and stropped, and they used the same razor for years and years. These days, people buy a pack of a dozen disposable razors and the blades rust and become unusable in a matter of weeks. Heirloom objects have been supplanted by disposable plastic junk.

Imagine a society that produced incredibly durable objects that almost never needed replacing. The economy would contract. Growth would reverse. Our carbon footprint would decrease, since we wouldn't be moving so many disposable goods around by container. If humanity as a whole practiced such frugality, then the surplus labor could be turned towards other aims. Those freed from menial labor could instead contribute intellectual labor.

Yet, at the same time, such a society would be in the worst depression ever by our standards; physically rich, but monetarily poor.


Neoliberalism is destroying our natural capital for the sake of the strange exercise of making numbers go up. The world's reserves of minerals are being depleted one after another. Aquifers are being drained and arable land is turning into desert from over-farming. Trees are over-harvested; the world's forests are being cut down to make more agricultural land which, in turn, is turned into desert from soil loss. What are our descendants expected to inherit? Human activity is aiming to turn Earth into a barren ball of rock with mile-high mountains of garbage.

Why does America even have a homeless problem? We throw away enough wealth every year to buy every homeless person in America a home. $165 billion dollars of unsold food. $55 billion dollars worth of materials in electronic waste. That's $400,000 for each of the 552,000 homeless people in the US. Our trash contains enough wasted value to buy over half a million people a home. And a nice home, too. Why did people labor to farm that food and produce those electronics if they were just going to end up thrown away?

Try and think about what it would take to put an end to mindless hyper-consumerism and waste, and the institutional structures that support it. Not just the consooming itself, not just an alteration of mankind's habits, but actually getting rid of the clerical jobs that manage the consooming, the wasteful services that help those clerical workers manage the consooming, the transportation that supports consooming, and all the way on down the line, until you have something resembling sustainability.

Our global society is controlled by a tiny, elite cadre of uber-wealthy parasites who don't provide anything of value to us at all. They privatize their gains and socialize their losses. They use nonprofits as their PR agencies, and they funnel tons of money towards political causes that advance their goals and hand them ever-increasing amounts of wealth and power. They spur humanity towards wasteful consumerism, growth, and profit, and they skim off the top. They fund wars and back warmongers. They keep us all divided and squabbling among ourselves so we don't turn on them and tear out their throat. That's all they do, all day; figure out ways to skim a little more and skim a little more, until they have amassed huge fortunes and the rest of us are living in cuckbarrels and repurposed shipping containers. They are robbing our descendants of their own opportunity to have a decent standard of living, all for their own temporary gain. The result is a society that routinely discards enough wealth in the garbage to give large swathes of the population a sizable dole.

Imagine how insulted the workers of the world must feel, to know that their sweat, blood, and tears are literally going into landfills.

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus' punishment was to roll a boulder up a hill for all eternity. This is what modernity has wrought. A Sisyphean society that exists for the sake of the Work-Ritual, with financiers and bureaucrats as its clergymen.

Maybe humanity will one day take our heads out of our asses and realize that at some point, the work is supposed to stop and you're supposed to take a breath and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Medieval peasants had more leisure time than we do. They fucking tilled the fields half the year, and spent the other half lounging around doing next to nothing. These days, people are lucky if they get 15 days of paid vacation a year, and the rest of the time, they're slaving and wagecucking like mad so some prick can buy a second Lamborghini.


From coast to coast, the US is full of overworked basket cases increasingly turning to psychiatrists and social workers and begging them for pills to escape the misery and futility of their existence. That's just another way to extract value. They work you to the bone just so they can sell you chemical relief from the misery they put you in.

Who in God's name thinks any of this is healthy or sane? Who?
Shut the fuck up, holy shit.
 

Drain Todger

Unhinged Doomsayer
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Shut the fuck up, holy shit.

Like it or not, there are limits to growth on a finite planet. If you keep chasing the illusion of limitless growth, you're going to run into a wall. You're also going to dilute the standards of living for the whole of humanity.




I've gotten into arguments with neoliberals before where their only rebuttal to this was, "Well, we'll have rocket ships and exploit asteroid resources soon, so we'll just decouple our economy from the planet and keep growing into outer space".

That's not an argument. There is no practical, technological means yet available of exploiting space resources at the rate that we've exploited Earth-bound ones. Barring some miraculous technological breakthroughs, there won't be until we're already knee-deep in a crisis.
 

Y2K Baby

The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom???
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Like it or not, there are limits to growth on a finite planet. If you keep chasing the illusion of limitless growth, you're going to run into a wall. You're also going to dilute the standards of living for the whole of humanity.




I've gotten into arguments with neoliberals before where their only rebuttal to this was, "Well, we'll have rocket ships and exploit asteroid resources soon, so we'll just decouple our economy from the planet and keep growing into outer space".

That's not an argument. There is no practical, technological means yet available of exploiting space resources at the rate that we've exploited Earth-bound ones. Barring some miraculous technological breakthroughs, there won't be until we're already knee-deep in a crisis.
Shortest post. Read all of it. Brainlet takes. Stop typing.
 

Adolf Honkler

https://riot.kiwifarms.net happening room for news
kiwifarms.net
Since this is Kiwi Farms, I'm well aware that saying anything remotely negative about capitalism, or that Marx said anything remotely of worth, will immediately get you marked with "commie bad". This post will mostly go unread just as the opening post has.

The birth of capitalism is admittedly an interest of mine, particularly in its relation to religion. For what it's worth, I do think that the emphasis that it could have only happened under the Protestant Reformation, and Calvinism in particular, is somewhat overstated (this is a common talking point among tradCaths). Markets and systems of finance clearly existed before the Protestant Reformation, especially in the Italian peninsula. Now, could that development have happened without some rebellion towards official Church teaching (i.e. usury, just prices)? That, I'm not so sure of, and I do think that the Church and Throne definitely had a vested interest in preventing merchants and financiers from getting out of hand. Even then, these systems of commerce and finance played a largely auxiliary role to the feudal relations of pre-modern Europe. This is another important point: merchants in virtually all pre-capitalist societies were despised.

One thing that a lot of people don't understand, especially Americans, is that the way industrial capitalism really took off in the 19th century was a distinct break from the way virtually all societies were run, and it was not universally appreciated. While I think Karl Polanyi does over-exaggerate certain things, it is no mistake to call it a Great Transformation. Most people are surprised to learn that private property in the strict sense is a relatively recent invention, monetary transactions were very few rather than the basis of all social relations, commons played an important role in all societies, and that wage labor was not the norm until really the 20th century, and before then was almost universally hated from all sides. This shift will inevitably uproot the social basis of societies, and will most certainly create a corresponding "double-movement" against it. No social framework like capitalism will so reliably produce discontent wherever it is introduced. One thing that critics of capitalism are most certainly right about is that the loneliness we feel nowadays is basically exclusive to modernity and is largely the result of a hyper-individualistic society with a high division of labor and fragmented families and communities. Conservatives are well aware of this fragmentation and try to revive feelings of Gemeinschaft to act against it, despite allying with the very forces that create it.

Socialism, then, is in many ways a reactionary movement because it is seeks to reconstitute those sames bases of pre-capitalist societies with many of the benefits of the industrialized world. It's largely about the process of having your cake (the lack of alienation, economics of reciprocity, hallmarks of the past) and eating it (clean water, food security, modern medicine, things that basically did not exist before capitalism). There was once a remark I read from a commentator, with which I agree, that the way young people have taken to socialism has less to do with a redress to poverty but rather a creation of a new world that acts as an antidote to the loneliness and purposelessness that seems to be omnipresent under modernity. The problem is that Socialism also has a very weak definition of Gemeinschaft. A society bound together as the children of God is a much stronger one than one tied together solely on the "brotherhood of man". It is no mistake that virtually all secular intentional communes fail while religious are more likely to succeed.

As for the article itself, I think Eugene McCarraher gets a little carried away as many of the romantic Catholic types are wont to do. I've read a few other articles by him (not his book, which is around 800 pages), as I have ran around in that whole tradcath scene, and his romanticism can blind him. I distinctly remember him at one point saying he rejected that scarcity and homo economicus as two principles of economics, two principles that I think are largely legit. And I think his conceptions of the pre-capitalist past is a little too rosy and ahistorical, which one would expect from someone who uses the English Romantics as his guide. I highly doubt that European peasants were all little William Blakes who took Catholic sacramentalism to the level of animism and pantheism in all things. Not to mention that the praise you get from the guilds from these types is pretty ahistorical as well. Workers, tradesmen, and work itself were basically despised in the middle ages, not as an indignity suffered to the worker but rather a sign of the moral inferiority of those participated in it. One thing that both Socialism and Capitalism share is that both see work as a fundamentally good and honorable thing, which was a distinct break from the past. And in any case, all these quaint little tradesmen with their arts and crafts still exist. Also, he gets a little carried away with Commodity Fetishism, a pretty simple concept that commodities appear to possess qualities of their own while masking the relations of production that went into them, by turning it into some weird sacramental nonsense. Also, German Romantics > English Romantics. Give me Sturm Und Drang, no wandering lonely as a cloud.

With all that being said, capitalism defenders are 100% unequipped with answering many of the moral and social dilemmas that accrue under capitalism. By and large, economics has become totally untethered from any notion of human needs and desires, and it's beginning to show. People want a secure, purposeful life, and no amount of economic growth can account for that. A few have tried by highlighting some of positive benefits of not just the prosperity but the principles behind capitalism as possessing moral qualities (Tyler Cowen, Deirdre McCloskey). While I found them entertaining and would love to believe them, they were also completely disconnected from "actually existing capitalism".

Lastly, I'd like to ask my fellow Kiwis who had such a knee-jerk reaction to the OP to humor me and answer a few questions.
1. Would your rather work for yourself or receive a monetary payment by working form someone else?
2. How do you foresee people reforming close communities under the current economic paradigm?
3. Why are rural communities floundering while urban communities flourishing under the current economic paradigm?
4. Why does globalism happen? Why do companies outsource?
5. Do you think that the very rich genuinely share your interests?
6. Like it or not, Socialism as a viable alternative has returned from the grave. Why is that?
pee pee
 

kobox666

kiwifarms.net
Capitalism is a fucking illusion, the american dream? A fraud, some people manage to accomplish their dreams, but most fail due to circumstances. In this world cheaters win and if you want to play nice, people will fuck you over. Money is an empty illusion of hapiness, a carrot to be pulled by the elites. Is it the worst system ever? Dont know. Can be a better system? Maybe. Will it colapse in some form or another. Yes. It cannot sustain itself and its illusions are slowly eroding away.
 

Drain Todger

Unhinged Doomsayer
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Dude, "Brevity is the soul of whit". If you want to make a point, try to be brief and succinct, don't post a whole damn essay.

Keep it short and simple. You can still make a good argument even if it's brief.

Why are people coming out of college with degrees, and they can’t find a job making more than $30 to $40k a year, when people used to come out of high school and make those sorts of wages? Outsourcing labor to countries with no labor rights and no environmental standards has depressed our wages, created humanitarian crises, and despoiled our planet. It has led to a class of shiftless and unruly people, overeducated but underemployed and easy to manipulate towards political ends.

Why do corporations openly endorse the lawlessness of Antifa and BLM? Simple. They’re traitors and sellouts. They benefit from US-China trade relations and they want Trump ousted because he’s a protectionist. He’s tough on China and wants to reshore jobs, driving up wages and putting a dent in corporate pocketbooks.

The globalist oligarchs must not succeed. The world they want to create is hell. They want to model everything on the PRC’s methods of social control. They want social credit and face recognition cameras in all the wealthy Western nations, too.
 

ZombiefiedFerret

Itchy. Tasty.
kiwifarms.net
Capitalism is a fucking illusion, the american dream? A fraud, some people manage to accomplish their dreams, but most fail due to circumstances. In this world cheaters win and if you want to play nice, people will fuck you over. Money is an empty illusion of hapiness, a carrot to be pulled by the elites. Is it the worst system ever? Dont know. Can be a better system? Maybe. Will it colapse in some form or another. Yes. It cannot sustain itself and its illusions are slowly eroding away.
Git gud, nerd.
 

Positron

Wearing the same blue mask since 2004
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
The essay is not bad. The gist is that commodity fetishism has replaced mystical reverence in an increasingly capitalistic world, at least since the 17th century. The author traces the reactions of various romantic figures -- romantic artists, sociologists, harebrained activists like Gerrard Winstanley, and essayists like John Ruskin -- and their rallying calls to "re-enchant" the world. My chief criticism is the very same that I'd level against most Humanity essays: despite the breadth of his review, the author merely expounds on his pet thesis and does not seem to anticipate objections. Is it true that commodity fetishism only happened after Capitalism can take hold? People have attributed mystical powers to inanimate objects since time eternal, and commodity fetishism might just be the latest manifestation. Is seeing a piece of beautiful craft, a painting for example, to be "enchanted" anything worse than seeing a mass-produced object as a quasi-religious fetish?

If you, like Marx, think that commodity fetishism is a unique condition because it is can only occur if the consumer is alienated from the producer (i.e. is not aware of the human labor involved in the production of the commodity; the commodity seemingly comes into being on its own, as if by magic) then might I bring your attention to the Greek myth of Pygmalion. Pygmalion is fully aware of how the statue was produced, because, of course, he himself made it. He still fetishizes the statue.

OP said:
Take this, for example. An essay that argues that capitalism has replaced spirituality and even trespassed into the realm of ontology, providing explanatory power for the matter and creative forces of the world. A form of mystic socialism is conjured up as a foil to this, if only to entrap people in another, even more predatory form of technocracy with its own equally empty spirituality.
Capitalism bad, therefore socialism good. This is the kind of harebrained thinking that a lifetime in the Humanities inculcates: if something brings division, discord, and unhappiness, its radical opposite must be the road to utopia.
 
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Absolute Brainlet

Local demon pimp shitposting on New Zealand forum
kiwifarms.net
Пошел нахуй, мудила, я твою стену рун читать не буду, либо пиши коротко, либо вообще не пиши.
 

Dom Cruise

How is she when she doesn't surf?
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I will say that there are more important things in life than money, the goal of civilization should simply be the continuation of our species, if the pursuit of profit gets in the way of that, then it's a problem.

For example look at for the theory that the reason feminism was pushed is to simply get women in the workforce so corporations could make more money, but look at the damage feminism has done to the family unit and thus the propagation of our species, that's a problem.

The modern corporate world has evolved in weird ways that are doing harm to the human race, that's a problem.

Now the solution to these problems is not Marxism, because Marxism is anti-human, that's going out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire to think Marxism is the solution to the downsides of capitalism.
 

CreamyHerman’s

>mfw I arrest Chris Chan and the gunt is hunting
kiwifarms.net
Lastly, I'd like to ask my fellow Kiwis who had such a knee-jerk reaction to the OP to humor me and answer a few questions.
1. Would your rather work for yourself or receive a monetary payment by working form someone else?
2. How do you foresee people reforming close communities under the current economic paradigm?
3. Why are rural communities floundering while urban communities flourishing under the current economic paradigm?
4. Why does globalism happen? Why do companies outsource?
5. Do you think that the very rich genuinely share your interests?
6. Like it or not, Socialism as a viable alternative has returned from the grave. Why is that?

1. I do both, considering I have the mental skill and apitude to do it. Long term, yeah I would love to be self-enterprise, but I also get paid good money for what I do.

2. I do not forsee people reforming close communities

3. I highly doubt this is a recent phenomenon. People in general are attracted to the lure of cities since the beginning of civilization.

4. This is easily tracked due to treaties like NAFTA playing a role.

5. Nobody has the interest ultimately. Do you think Lenin and Stalin had the same interest in how Russia will be run after Lenin's death?

6. It hasn't, due to how humans ultimately behave from one another.
 

TheProdigalStunna

I'm not giving back the documents
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
1. I do both, considering I have the mental skill and apitude to do it. Long term, yeah I would love to be self-enterprise, but I also get paid good money for what I do.
Good for you, but not everyone has that luxury. Have you ever worked at a fast food restaurant or retail for minimum wage? I guarantee you would find it intolerable as opposed to working for yourself.
2. I do not forsee people reforming close communities
Is that not a problem? I would hope a conservative (I'm assuming you are one, but correct me if I'm wrong) would see one's community and homeland as essential to their identity, and that the erasure of those things is a great tragedy. I guess I should follow that up: How would you suggest that people reform close communities?
3. I highly doubt this is a recent phenomenon. People in general are attracted to the lure of cities since the beginning of civilization.
It is. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, less than 10% of all humans lived in cities. Now, I am not personally anti-city, but I see people complain here all the time about the "urbanites" while supporting the same economic system that leads to the death of rural communities. Look at #2 specifically. Do you not see the irony here?
4. This is easily tracked due to treaties like NAFTA playing a role.
Well, obviously. But why do those Free Trade Agreements happen? They don't spring out of thin-air. It's not a government ploy either (they are largely about taking down legal barriers towards trade, not making new ones). Corporations push so heavily for them because it's in their best interest. Globalization is nothing but Capitalism at work. Certainly so-called Nationalists would recognize this.
5. Nobody has the interest ultimately. Do you think Lenin and Stalin had the same interest in how Russia will be run after Lenin's death?
Obviously not. I suppose I should say clarify that I'm not a communist or a Marxist or a doctrinaire socialist, and of course I think that "actually existing socialism" was bad. Here's the thing though, the Soviet Union is nearly 30 years dead. China has fully embraced capitalism. North Korea doesn't even call itself socialist anymore, just "Juche". The only remaining socialist country on this planet is Cuba, and even they have made market reforms. The "but socialism was also bad!" argument is irrelevant at this point. If you want to defend capitalism, it must be defended on it's own terms.

And in any case, while the conflict of class interests is constant throughout history, capitalism has the distinction of some uniquely base elites. At least the aristocracy of the Early Modern era had some sense of the Noblesse Oblige when they used their wealth to build beautiful cities and patronized some of the greatest art ever created. Even America's own elites, like the Rockefellers and the Carnegies, at one point still had enough residual aristocratic virtue to use their wealth to create beautiful buildings, build hospitals, and fund the art in their hometowns. Look at our elites now. Their tastes are thoroughly proletarian despite never interacting with the common folk, they have no ties to any city or country, their version of architecture are ugly lifeless skyscrapers, and they feel no obligations to anyone other than themselves. Their version of aristocratic virtue is throwing money at woke shit and rockets to space. Are these the people you want to support?
6. It hasn't, due to how humans ultimately behave from one another.
Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "viable". I'm not asking whether it would work, I'm commenting on the fact that it has grown more popular, which I don't think anyone would really dispute. For what it's worth, I think the odds of a socialist president getting elected in the near future are very slim. Nevertheless, the youth are embracing it. This doesn't happen out of thin air. People like Bernie Sanders and AOC, with a message of discontent and anger, don't get elected or gain popularity in happy countries.

Thanks for answering my questions, though.
 
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