Monday, February 11, 2013

Funny you should mention that...

Tony Mach, in a recent comment, wrote:
I find it nice to read your perspective about all things related to economy, and how it is one big capitalistic cluster-fark.
First, thanks for the feedback, Tony.  Because this blog doesn't really have a theme its sometimes hard to decide what to write about.

But the economy is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, and also related in a very intimate way to the very, very long story of why I stopped writing nearly a year ago.  The TL;DR version is that at the end of a multi-year process I came to realize some things about how the world actually works under the hood that left me in a full-blown existential crisis.

I'm still struggling with how (or even whether) to tell the whole story.  But in the meantime, here's a data point.


Todd Coram said...

Just a long time lurker here. I enjoy your blog quite a bit. After this rambling thought, I'll go back to lurking.

As a late 40-something middle class father of three, I can no longer afford Existential Crisis.

During my youth, it was quite the rage. Into married life it was tempered by the presence of spouse. When the first child arrive, it was replaced with unbridled optimism. With the burgeoning of financial and paternal responsibility the optimism was replaced with pessimism.
Pessimism led to a realization that religion was, perhaps, a lie. This was the beginning of mistrust. Then came the questions regarding the motivation of politics... and the finality of death... and then came the Existential Crisis. The Crisis was broken by the acceptance of the "now".

There is, in my opinion, a missing character from The Matrix. Unlike Neo, when she was offered the blue pill, she refused. She couldn't leave her loved ones. She knew she couldn't convince them all of the "truth" and by leaving them she would cause them great loss and suffering. She could at least take her kids, willing or not. But, how does she explain why they left behind Grandma, or their friends.

So she ate her Existential Crisis, swallowed the pieces and kept them in her belly. In her belly they became a nagging hungry feeling. When it distracted her toward obsession, her young son would cry, or laugh or hug her and that brought her thoughts back to the "here and now". Matrix or not, this *was* her reality.

She would sometimes discuss the "truth" with her friend or family, hoping that they would catch on. But, she still had to keep living in the Matrix, earning a living, because that is what you have to do if you don't choose the red pill.

Tony Mach said...

I've been singled out! :-)

A chap named Engels once had an comment about “regulatory capture”:

" … And the modern state, again, is only the organisation that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the general external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine, the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. … "

The German term "ideeller Gesamtkapitalist" though gets lost a bit in the translation to "the ideal personification of the total national capital".

Please note the two aspects of controlling against the encroachments of the workers as well as of individual capitalists – something that I think is visible in the SEC.

Back to lurking…

Tony Mach said...

And one more thing, I just remember, a guy with the funny name Vladimir Ilyich Lenin once wrote in his book on "Imperialism" about the "revolving door" between banks and the state. Though I don't know if it was German banks or Russian banks that served as an example.

These are the "natural forces" Engels wrote about: blindly, forcibly, destructively, so long as we do not understand, and reckon with them. But when once we understand them, when once we grasp their action, their direction, their effects, it depends only upon ourselves to subject them more and more to our own will, and by means of them to reach our own ends.