2: Questions for Master Land.
3: The Ethos of Neocameralism.
4: Accelerationism V Geo-Economics; Boundaries V Deterritorialization.
5: The Empire Strikes Back.
6: STEEL-cam V Tech-Comm: Or How Moldbug learned to Stop Worrying and Love Mercantilism.
STEEL-cameralists are accelerationists; just not the kind of accelerationism that Master Land might find exhilarating.
We direct our comments at Master Land’s recent short essay in Jacobite that elegantly and clearly described what accelerationism (AC) is and why it matters. Afterwards, we will criticise a claim he made in his post on Meta-Neocameralism.
Accelerationism matters – no doubt.
What also cannot be doubted is that few, if anyone, in any position of power and responsibility has really any idea of what to do about the challenges that AC poses; except, perhaps, for Donald Trump.
The nation that comes anywhere close to realising the STEEL-cam vision is modern China. China has the resources to not only resist but to corral the Energies that accelerationism channels towards an Imperial imperative.
Yet, for China, their militarist escapades over the last few years – in the South China Sea and beyond – with their constant quarrelling and strategic autism is far too soon, far too much and far too risky.
Instead of building up their navy or army, China would have done better if they had spent their wealth in building up not only a stronger, more robust, Anti-Cathedral immune system. China should spend their surplus capital on raising an army of scholar-cadres who could help lay the foundations for a China that did not have to rely on the obviously false and ridiculous political formula that China is a Communist country. One of the key tasks of this task-group would be a rigorous deconstruction of the Modern Structure and to explain to the West why China will not allow itself to be infected by it.
But no matter.
We have two substantial areas of disagreement with Master Land, despite his excellent and valuable theorising which has influenced our thought a great deal.
The two criticisms are connected, because Master Land’s overall system is clearly connected.
The first criticism consists of our laying out what the primary opponent of AC is, what it will do, and why it will triumph.
The second criticism is more critical and it contains two sub-arguments. Firstly, we claim that if Master Land considers Grand Master Mencius Moldbug to be a Tech-Comm then he is, unfortunately, mistaken. Neocameralism is not necessarily, or even likely, going to be a completely Tech-Com style state; this is almost certainly true, moreover, for a state like USG.
The implication of this criticism is that the “true enemy” of Tech-Comm accelerationism will not be the “romantics” pining for the ancient kings, but the cold and steely, rapacious and predatory, gold-loving and glorious STEEL-cam state.
2: Questions for Master Land.
It is possible that Master Land has a defence in depth already prepared; if so, perhaps he can mobilise his forces by answering the following questions:
1: When did you discover Unqualified Reservations and how?
2: Can you describe your first set of intellectual and emotional reactions when reading it? What did you think and feel when you grasped, what you considered to be, the essential elements in the Grand Master’s system?
3: Did any of the Master’s arguments or observations, in your opinion, connect to or have relevance for accelerationism? If so, what?
4: More comprehensively, what significance does UR have for AC ?
5: Do you believe that the Grand Master is an accelerationist?
6: Do you think that it is “prudent” for a state – as a state – to always embrace accelerationism? Is it something that must be allowed to happen?
7: In your opinion, who would constitute the Ruling Elite in a neo-cam state? Are they identical to the Ruling Elite in a Tech-Comm state?
3: The Ethos of Neocameralism.
Donald Trump expresses the Ethos of neocameralism more than a Steve Jobs.
The Grand Master was very coy over who the Ruling Elite might be in a NUSG. While it is true that he makes a number of positive references to Steve Jobs, he also makes the following reference to Donald Trump here:
Is not this passage all that needs to be said of your Dead Island? Which suffers (along with the rest of the world) one and only one disease, kinglessness–of which all other pathologies are no more than symptoms.
It is possible to be kingless without a Sham-King. But it takes more work. Our presidency serves more or less the same function–providing the necessary symbol of executive authority, to conceal the fact that the reality has disappeared (there is nothing genuinely executive about our “executive branch”). The Hanoverian dynasty is remarkable, though, in that its monarchs have been shams from beginning to end, with perhaps a minor exception in George III’s attempts at a king’s party.
What do you think Americans respond to in “The Donald” and Gov. Christie? To the obvious kinginess of these figures. Supreme personal authority, generally male, is a normal human function and one we recognize instinctively. The job of King does not exist, at least not in the public sector, but the Trumps and Christies come as close to it as possible and are clearly biologically suited for the position.
Thus the genuine enthusiasm for these figures, who alas, win or lose, will never enjoy a fraction of the old Plantagenet, Tudor or Stuart royal prerogative. A true King could still save England, I think, or any of her far-flung children…
It is Donald Trump who actually embodies the ethos and logos of a neo-cam system. Donald Trump would make a fine neo-cam CEO. A Sovereign like Trump is far more likely to rule in an American neo-cam state than a man like Jobs.
For the Grand Master, the state is a business which owns a country; domestic good government is, essentially, a good real estate enterprise. Isn’t it ironic that Donald Trump made his name in real estate first? Later, the Grand Master quotes Mark Twain who said that “… many Saints can work miracles but few can keep hotel.” We say that while many bureaucrats can ruin a country, almost none can run a hotel, but Trumps ran hotels, and now he runs the country.
Perhaps, more substantially, is Trump’s instinctive mercantilism; his suspicion of the free trade dogmas; significantly for accelerationism is his “territorial” and militarist instincts – all of which can be found among the Grand Master’s work.
Trump would have the stones to order the military to fire on the mob, would a Jobs? For the Grand Master, this is the pons asinorum of being a Sovereign.
This is just knock-about stuff, however. Let’s get to the meat of the post.
4: Accelerationism V Geo-Economics; Boundaries V Deterritorialization.
Master Land’s recent article here, which has, as the fundamental lesson for states, the concept of deterritorialization.
STEEL-cams believe that there must be boundaries. Those boundaries will, at least, be set by the logic of geo-economics.
First, a statement of the problem and the following from Master Land brings us to the fulcrum of the issue:
“For accelerationism the crucial lesson was this: A negative feedback circuit – such as a steam-engine ‘governor’ or a thermostat – functions to keep some state of a system in the same place. Its product, in the language formulated by French philosophical cyberneticists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, is territorialization. Negative feedback stabilizes a process, by correcting drift, and thus inhibiting departure beyond a limited range. Dynamics are placed in the service of fixity – a higher-level stasis, or state. All equilibrium models of complex systems and processes are like this. To capture the contrary trend, characterized by self-reinforcing errancy, flight, or escape, D&G coin the inelegant but influential term deterritorialization. Deterritorialization is the only thing accelerationism has ever really talked about.”
The key term here is “deterritorialization”. It is the only thing we are going to talk about with regards to AC.
Deterritorialization is incompatible with, not only with the concept of a state itself, but especially with the concept of a state as a business which owns a country….
The critique (or assault) then that follows will consist of drawing upon the resources of Edward Luttwak, Ian Fletcher, Friederich List, Master Foseti and the Grand Master himself.
First, we begin with some selections and commentary (which we will explore later in the STEEL-cameralist manifesto) on Edward Luttwak’s Geopolitics to Geo-Economics: Logic of Conflict, Grammar of Commerce” The National Interest.1990. You can find it here.
Either way, the deference that armed strength could evoke in the dealings of governments over all matters—notably including economic questions—has greatly declined, and seems set to decline further. Everyone, it appears, now agrees that the methods of commerce are displacing military methods—with disposable capital in lieu of firepower, civilian innovation in lieu of military technical advancement, and market penetration in lieu of garrisons and bases. But these are all tools, not purposes; what purposes will they serve?
Luttwak sets out the “two logics” of Tech-Comm AC and STEEL-cam: the logic of commerce and the logic of conflict:
If the players left in the field by the waning importance of military power were purely economic entities—labor-sellers, entrepreneurs, corporations—then only the logic of commerce would govern world affairs.
Instead of World Politics, the intersecting web of power relationships on the international scene, we would simply have World Business, a myriad economic interactions spanning the globe.
In some cases, the logic of commerce would result in fierce competition. In others, the same logic would lead to alliances between economic entities in any location to capitalize ventures, vertically integrate, horizontally co-develop, co-produce, or co-market goods and services.
Notice that he says “any location”; however, in the next paragraph he says something that Master Land would agree with:
But competitively or cooperatively, the action on all sides would always unfold without regard to frontiers. If that were to happen, not only military methods but the logic of conflict itself—which is adversarial, zero-sum, and paradoxical—would be displaced.
This, or something very much like it, is in fact what many seem to have in mind when they speak of a new global interdependence and its beneficial consequences.
Tech-Comm, Accelerationism, in other words.
But things are not quite that simple.
“The international scene is still primarily occupied by states and blocs of states that extract revenues, regulate economic as well as other activities for various purposes, pay out benefits, offer services, provide infrastructures, and—of increasing importance—finance or otherwise sponsor the development of new technologies and new products.
Then we come to a core claim:
As territorial entities, spatially rather than functionally defined, states cannot follow a commercial logic that would ignore their own boundaries.”
We repeat the core point: “states cannot follow a commercial logic that would ignore their own boundaries.”
It is clear, from this, that an unbridled Accelerationism is an enemy of the STATE – ALL STATES and in particular: the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.
Luttwak asks what is the logic that states follow and must follow?
Do states and blocs of states pay out benefits and offer services transnationally—or (fractional aid allocations apart) do they strive to restrict such advantages to their own residents? Likewise, do they design infrastructures to maximize their transnational utility—or do they aim for domestically optimal and appropriately competitive configurations, regardless of how others are affected? Since the latter is the reality, the logic of state action is again in part the logic of conflict.
The key statement here is “the logic of state action is again in part the logic of conflict.”
Luttwak then discuses technology:
Finally, do states and blocs of states promote technological innovation for its own sake—or do they seek thereby to maximize benefits within their own boundaries? Since the latter is the reality, the logic of conflict applies.
Master Land’s vision, on the contrary, is that technological innovation happens for its own sake and should happen for its own sake. This is false in the first case and undesirable in the second. (As for the Grand Master, he was mostly silent on the first and is entirely in agreement with the latter, as we will shortly demonstrate.)
As this is how things are, it follows that—even if we leave aside the persistence of armed confrontations in unfortunate parts of the world and wholly disregard what remains of the Cold War—World Politics is still not about to give way to World Business, i.e. the free interaction of commerce governed only by its own nonterritorial logic.
The key term here is: “nonterritorial logic.”
Then we come to this critical passage:
Instead, what is going to happen—and what we are already witnessing—is a much less complete transformation of state action represented by the emergence of “Geoeconomics.
Geo-economics is one the pillars of the STEEL-cam philosophy of state, and it sees both a threat and potential in AC.
5: The Empire Strikes Back.
Luttwak’s answer to Master Land (as it where) is the following:
As spatial entities structured to jealously delimit their own territories, to assert their exclusive control within them, and variously to attempt to influence events beyond their borders, states are inherently inclined to strive for relative advantage against like entities on the international scene, even if only by means other than force.
Luttwak for the kick: … their raison d’etre and the ethos that sustains them still derive from their chronologically first function: to provide security from foes without (as well as outlaws within).
Relatively few states have had to fight to exist, but all states exist to fight—or at least they are structured as if that were their dominant function.
“War made the state and the state made war.”
Even though most of the existing 160-odd independent states have never fought any external wars, and most of those that have fought have not done so for generations, the governing structures of the modern state are still heavily marked by conflictual priorities…
Economics is a matter of national security.
There is clearly a conflict here between the logic of commerce and the logic of conflict.
Economics, like technology, cannot be something that simply “free floats” – if you reason from the point of view of the state – which is what the philosophy of STEEL-cam reasons as.
The logical consequence of all this, which is, nevertheless, one of the Primary Principles of neo-cam is the following: Economics is a matter of National Security.
Our proto, neo-cam King, President Trump is right again:
For decades, America has lost our jobs and our factories to unfair foreign trade. And one steel mill after another has been shut down, abandoned, and closed, and we’re going to reverse that,” said President Trump as he moved to sign the memorandum.
Today, I’m directing the Department of Commerce to immediately prioritize the investigation that began yesterday and really long before that — because Wilbur and I have been working on this for a long time — into foreign steel arriving into our markets, and to submit a report on the effects of these foreign steel products on the national security of the United States. It’s not just the pricing, it’s not just employment, it also has to do with the national security of our country, which people never talk about. I talked about it.
President Trump is correct. (See the end of this essay for more reading material.)
In other cases, the desirable scope of geo-economic activism by the state is already becoming a focal point of political debate and partisan controversy: witness the current Democratic-Republican dispute on “industrial policy” in the United States.
It took nearly twenty years to happen, but it is happening.
Perhaps the pan-Western trade accords of the era of armed confrontation with the Soviet Union—based on the original General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade—may survive without the original impulse that created them, and may serve to inhibit the overt use of tariffs and quotas as the geo-economic equivalent of fortified lines. And that inheritance of imposed amity may also dissuade the hostile use of all other “geoeconomic” weapons, from deliberate regulatory impediments to customs-house conspiracies aimed at rejecting imports covertly—the commercial equivalents of the ambushes of war. But that still leaves room for far more important weapons: the competitive development of commercially important new technologies, the predatory financing of their sales during their embryonic stage, and the manipulation of the standards that condition their use—the geo-economic equivalents of the offensive campaigns of war.
Here is a key sentence for Master Land to contemplate: “competitive development of commercially important new technologies,”
The flip side of the coin is also true, which is the stifling of certain other technologies that are military and national security risks.
Master Land is, however, quite correct in all his descriptions of Accelerationism and the risks it poses, but it will come smack up against the most powerful predator on the planet: USG.
Accelerationism and Free Trade.
Ian Fletcher has produced a terrific book exposing the fallacy of free trade, which was reviewed by Master Foseti here. Ironically, Edward Luttwak wrote the forward to the book, proving that, after over a decade and a half since he coined the term geo-economics, he was correct.
Until the economic debacle of 2008, the power and moral authority of the United States were sustained not only by its political values, cultural magnetism, and military strength, but also by its wealth.
From its investment capacity as home of the world’s most sophisticated financial system to its purchasing power as the world’s largest importer, the U.S. had an undoubted primacy.
When the latter finally ruined the former—for huge trade deficits tolerated for decades must decapitalize as well as deindustrialize—American diplomacy suddenly had to function without much of its accustomed leverage.
Some Americans have always been displeased by the magnitude of American power, probably because they project onto the nation at large their own moral discomfort with its exercise. For them, as for assorted dictators, Islamic fanatics, and the few serious communists still breathing, the present weakening of the United States is welcome. But for others, including this writer, this weakening provokes an unwelcome question: how much power can the United States retain without this leverage? And what kind of Hobbesian world order will we face in its absence?
Luttwak later says:
This is a fact of which both America’s friends and enemies are well aware, and upon which America’s commercial rivals base their own neomercantilist trade policies. The result has been a prolonged failure to safeguard the American economy, especially manufacturing, from foreign predation.
Incidentally, Luttwak, who wrote the Grand Strategy of the Byzantium Empire, said that, in contrast to Rome, Byzantium’s first move was always diplomatic, but that their diplomacy was backed with credible military strength.
The neo-cam motto is: Secure, Strong and Wealthy.
The STEEL-cam motto is: Guns, Gold, Genes and Glory.
The reality is that manufacturing is inescapable. Few Americans can work in elite fields like corporate management or investment banking, no matter how large these loom in the consciousness of the governing class. Most service employment, such as restaurant work, pays low wages. Agriculture is a miniscule employer in all developed nations. And for all the glories of high tech, it remains a modest employer: during the auto industry wreck of 2009, Americans discovered that Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, despite of decades of decline, still employed more people than all the famous names of Silicon Valley—from Adobe to Yahoo—combined. As a result, the incomes and living standards of nonpoor Americans must largely rise and fall with manufacturing employment.
Key claim: “manufacturing is inescapable.”
(Later, in the STEEL-cameralist manifesto, we will explore several chapters of Ian Fletcher’s book Why Free Trade Doesn’t Work and What Can Replace It.)
6: STEEL-cam V Tech-Comm: Or How Moldbug learned to Stop Worrying and Love Mercantilism.
We now turn our attention to Master Land’s Tech-Comm and how he seems to view its relationship with neo-cam and the Grand Master’s overall system, outlined in this excellent post.
Master Land claims that:
MNC, then, is not a political prescription, for instance a social ideal aligned with techno-commercialist preferences. It is an intellectual framework for examining systems of governance, theoretically formalized as disposals of sovereign property.
The first premise is that MNC is not aligned with “techno-commercialist preferences” but then later he says:
For deep historical reasons, techno-commercial business organization emerges as the preeminent template for government entities, as for any composite economic agent. It is in terms of this template that modern political dysfunction can be rendered (formally) intelligible.
We disagree that this premise is an accurate history of statecraft; furthermore, we also think that the template is both inaccurate and incomplete.
To the STEEL-cams, both the history and the template for the state is not a business, but a military.
However, we can meet head on Master Land’s counter-argument by deploying the STEEL-cam political formula:
“10: If neocameralism is the state at peace – where the government is a real estate enterprise because the “state is a business which owns a country”, then STEEL-cameralism is the state at war – where the military becomes the state and the state becomes a business.
The government, meanwhile, runs the country like a hotel at home (with a weapons factory, alas) and a
protection racket security service abroad.”
STEEL-cam consumes what is interesting and tasty in Tech-Comm but then digests it and transforms it into something else.
The Master, however, is on point with the following:
The modern business of government is not ‘merely’ business only because it remains poorly formalized. As the preceding discussion suggests, this indicates that economic integration can be expected to deepen, as the formalization of power proceeds. (Moldbug seeks to accelerate this process.) An inertial assumption of distinct ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres is quickly disturbed by thickening networks of exchange, swapping managerial procedures and personnel, funding political ambitions, expending political resources in commercial lobbying efforts, trading economic assets for political favors (denominated in votes), and in general consolidating a vast, highly-liquid reservoir of amphibiously ‘corporacratic’ value, indeterminable between ‘wealth’ and ‘authority’. Wealth-power inter-convertibility is a reliable index of political modernity.
This is a very important observation: “Wealth-power inter-convertibility is a reliable index of political modernity.”
However, there is a limit. The limits, in short, can be understood as the distinction between friend and enemy, between predator and prey and predator and predator. Survival is not something that can be traded away, though it can, sometimes, be bought.
Master Land then says:
MNC does not decide that government should become a business. It recognizes that government has become a business (dealing in fungible quantities).
This is very nearly correct; however, there are limits, in principle, to the land, equipment and indeed, genetic human capital, that can – or “prudentially” should – be traded or replaced.
You cannot trade away your military, however. Certainly not if you’re USG with the enemies that it has.
What Master Land, however, says next is brilliant:
However, unlike private business ventures, which dissipate entropy through bankruptcy and market-driven restructuring, governments are reliably the worst run businesses in their respective societies, functionally crippled by defective, structurally-dishonest organizational models, exemplified most prominently by the democratic principle: government is a business that should be run by its customers (but actually can’t be). Everything in this model that isn’t a lie is a mistake.
Furthermore, what Master Land says about “learning” and “meta-learning” is also very important:
Everything survivable is potentially educational, even a mauling by the wolves. MNC however, as its name suggests, has reason to be especially attentive to the most abstract lesson of the Outside — the (logical) priority of meta-learning. It is good to discover reality, before — or at least not much later than — reality discovers us. Enduring civilizations do not merely know things, they know that it is important to know things, and to absorb realistic information. Regimes — disposing of sovereign property — have a special responsibility to instantiate this deutero-culture of learning-to-learn, which is required for intelligent government. This is a responsibility they take upon themselves because it is demanded by the Outside (and even in its refinement, it still smells of wolf).
Power is under such compulsion to learn about itself that recursion, or intellectualization, can be assumed. Power is selected to check itself, which it cannot do without an increase in formalization, and this is a matter — as we shall see — of immense consequence. Of necessity, it learns-to-learn (or dies), but this lesson introduces a critical tragic factor.
We agree completely. This is what we find to be most valuable in Master Land and his disciples.
(We begin to set out our own thoughts on learning here.)
We will now address the claim that the Grand Master belongs in the Tech-Comm camp. We assume that Master Land assumes that this is obvious. Here is just one example:
For those (not exclusively found in the Tech-Comm camp, but I suspect concentrated there) who consider Moldbug‘s work canonical…..
Unfortunately, we believe this to be a completely inaccurate reading of the Grand Master’s work. By way of proof, we will provide extensive extracts to support our claim.
Textual Evidence 1: Sam Altman is Not a Blithering Idiot.
But really I’m a mercantilist, and everything I know about economics I learned by reading Friedrich List. Well, him and Mises. Odd bedfellows I know. But I really believe there is nothing in (to use its old name) political economy which is outside the philosophy of these two fine Teutonic gentlemen, opposites though they were.
In actual reality, we are trying to answer the question: how should America be governed? We are therefore reasoning from the perspective of the State. Since sovereignty is conserved, the State is always and everywhere absolute and omnipotent.
What are the financial interests of the absolute State? To maximize the value of its productive assets. The State’s assets are (a) land and buildings, (b) equipment, and (c) human chattel. We understand how to value and manage (a) and (b) just fine. But most of its equity consists of (c) – an asset not really taught in most business schools.
Everything I’m saying here (including the economics) was said by Carlyle more than 150 years ago, notably in Chartism. The apotheosis of the hedonic principle is the immortal Pig-Philosophy. Briefly, Carlyle tells us, the difference between man and beast is that maximization of hedonic utility is always and everywhere the method of a beast. Not coincidentally, it is also the method of a toddler. And it is also the method of the Austrian economist, although he at least realizes that the “utility function” is qualitative and subjective rather than quantitative and objective, and adds time preference.
Here is the Grand Master’s neo-cam, neo-mercantilist policy recommendations:
As it happens, the US with its disastrous 37% labor-force nonparticipation rate (ie, the real measurement of “unemployment”, which is commonly cited in terms of the meaningless benefit-claims number), besides borrowing $1.2T a year, runs a trade deficit of $600B a year. Ie, 3% of US GDP. What does this mean?
What it means is that if USG entirely eliminated foreign trade, closing its ports like Tokugawa Japan, US businesses would experience an immediate 3% jump in gross revenue, and hence in employment. Of course, this would involve a boom in import substitution industries and a bust in export industries, but the net effect would be a boom. 500B ain’t nothing. The hedonic effect, of course, would be negative – but as we’ve seen, inadequate hedonism is anything but our problem.
We could do even better than this. We could eliminate imports, while maintaining exports. Of course, we would be admitting the mercantilist reality of world trade, something our Asian trading “partners” already understand. Does it hurt that much to say: “Friedrich List was right?” Let’s say that retaliation would cut our exports not to zero, but just in half. In that case, we have $0 in imports and $650B in exports, meaning a net gain in revenue to US businesses of roughly 1.2T – and that’s not counting a multiplier effect of money spent over and over again.
Again, we’d see some hedonic pain. We’d also see something like a 10% boost in AGDP overnight, as all the crap we buy from China now had to be made in America. Which means a titanic economic boom perhaps unparalleled in history, except at the inception of the Third Reich when Hitler adopted more or less the same autarkic policies. Less fun – more prosperity.
Call me crazy, but I don’t believe mercantilism – which, before Adam Smith, was no more than conventional wisdom in political economy – is inseparable from yet another persecution of the Jews. Indeed, any pre-liberal mercantilist would regard the combination of free trade, massive trade deficits, and massive unemployment, as economic insanity on a par with persecuting the Jews.
As List puts it, free trade is the weapon of the strong. England and later America adopted free trade when we were strong. Well, face it, we’re not strong anymore. But we keep hitting ourselves over the head with the weapon. Why? It’s simple: blithering idiocy.
And yes, there is also a Solution F. Solution F is a reality we’ll eventually have to face: technology restriction. Actually, Solution E is a special case of Solution F, because foreign imports are best considered as a technology of production. From the perspective of the American economy, there is no difference between production by Chinese workers, and production by robots – both imply production which does not employ American workers.
It is hard to imagine technology restriction working, because we have to get past imagining this terribly powerful tool being wielded by our utterly incompetent and corrupt rulers. The same problem exists in contemplating effective protectionism. The most obvious outcomes of both these tools simply amount to featherbedding if not outright theft. As a result, protectionism has gained a bad name, and technology restriction is well outside the policy landscape. Yet in actual reality, the problem is not with the tool, but the wielder. Once we admit that USG isn’t working and has to go, we can imagine replacing it with something that doesn’t suck – and can actually wield such a tool.
I am not suggesting across-the-board technology restriction, general medieval stasis, low-res iPads, banning Google Glass, or anything of the kind. My idea of Solution F involves targeted technology controls designed to create market demand for the type of unskilled human laborers that modern industry has made obsolete, but that we are politically unwilling to kill and sell as organ meat. Being so unwilling, we have no choice but to provide these people with a way to survive as human beings – preferably as human as possible.
Textual Evidence 2: Comment On Master Fostei’s Comment On Ian Fletcher’s Free Trade Does Not Work.
I feel a reasonable person would state the question as: if a sovereign operates a country as a business and like a business, will he offer the benefit of free trade to his residents/guests/subjects/serfs? I also feel the only reasonable answer is: “in many if not most, but not all, cases.”
In fact “free trade” is an imprecise label – which especially considering its historical connections with the liberal movement should be worrying. Confucius say: call all thing by light name. The usual question in reality is whether subjects should enjoy freedom of *import*. There exists such a thing as export restriction, with occasional legitimate motives – you don’t sell H-bombs to your enemy in a war – but it’s much rarer.
The unconditional nature of the “free trade” policy is also worrying – it seems like an attempt to guide the art of statesmanship through intellectual means. Ding, ding, ding, goes the little red alarm.
Or is free trade not an absolute principle of statesmanship, but simply a contingent one? Are their cases, even absurd cases, in which free trade is not appropriate? Can we construct these absurd cases, and at least describe them in general? Are we confident that this description will not produce cases which are not in fact absurd?
Exporting is more popular with sovereigns than importing, because exports are sales – revenue on the sovereign balance sheet. Imports are costs – expenses on the sovereign balance sheet. All foreign transactions go through the sovereign account. When USG 4 lets a Chicagoan buy a bottle of French wine, Washington is actually purchasing that claret on his behalf, then selling it to him. This produces (in a righteous world) an outflow of bullion. If the Chicagoan drinks a California cabernet, probably a better value anyway, there is no entry on the sovereign balance sheet for this internal transaction.
Of course, if the California cabernet is not purchased it is not produced, and if it is not produced the Manager’s valuable serfs can quit their winemaking jobs and go produce something else – which might be exported in exchange for bullion, maybe even more bullion. But this calculation is not trivial; it must be made. Another possibility is that the productive assets will simply decay, as both people and factories do if they aren’t used. On the opposite side, of course, the privilege to import French wine is a valuable one which delights your customers.
Thus the classical trade policy of mercantilism, which is to export as much as possible and import as little as possible, works out to a basic business maxim, which is to sell as much as possible and buy as little as possible.
Even more precisely, the choice between importing and domestic production is the choice between “outsourcing” and “insourcing.” It is often prudent for a company to outsource goods and services when external resources can do the work more cheaply, as measured by fictional dollars in internal accounting. However, it is often prudent to insource as well. As with most practical questions, there is no simple, absolute formula for this business decision. If there was such a formula, our government would certainly be competent to calculate it.
(Briefly, we note that Thomas Carlyle is much more important to the Grand Master than what Master Land considers. It is not accurate to claim, as Master Land did to Reactionary Future, that Carlyle is only a “Halloween costume” for the Grand Master.)
Finally, Master Land then taunts the “romantics” with the following:
The most obvious objections are, sensu stricto, romantic. They take a predictable (which is not to say a casually dismissible) form. Government — if perhaps only lost or yet-unrealized government — is associated with ‘higher’ values than those judged commensurable with the techno-commercial economy, which thus sets the basis for a critique of the MNC ‘business ontology’ of governance as an illegitimate intellectual reduction, and ethical vulgarization. To quantify authority as power is already suspect. To project its incremental liquidation into a general economy, where leadership integrates — ever more seamlessly — with the price system, appears as an abominable symptom of modernist nihilism.
Tremendous! From the many key terms we could select here, we will go with ‘business ontology’
Does Tech-Comm only face romantics as critics, however?
Pick your Prince.
STEEL-cams are accelerationists because we see that with the decay of Clausewitz’s trinity of people, state and military – especially the decay of the people – the state and the military will, while also in decline, continue to dominate; however, the blue government and the red government will increasingly come into all consuming conflict with one another.
Among men like these let there arise— there cannot but arise— some vast genius. He will lay hands, as it were, on the knowledge of all the community, will create the political system, put himself at the head of the machine and give the impulse of its movement.
Guibert. Quoted from The Campaigns of Napoleon. David Chandler.
STEEL-cams welcome this acceleration and seek to develop a grand strategy, a political formula and an overall new paradigm for governing USG as an empire.
Who will the new ruling class be?
Who will the new aristocracy be?
If and when the priests get knocked out, leaving only the soldiers and the merchants, who will be Sovereign?
What about Jocks and Nerds?
Master Land seems to think it will be nerds. This clip might give him some pause, however.
What is it that USG requires?
War made the state and the state made war.
Since war is forever, the state is forever, and therefore the military is forever – or at least until all evolutionary possibilities (biological and technological) – are exhausted; something that AC will evidently breathe new, creative energy into.
The undiscovered future of USG is not yet determined.
Dissolution or Empire?