Sunday, June 4, 2017

Market formalism is both the same and the opposite of neocameralism

Letting Mencius Moldbug speak for himself;
"The basic idea of Patchwork is that, as the crappy governments we inherited from history are smashed, they should be replaced by a global spiderweb of tens, even hundreds, of thousands of sovereign and independent mini-countries, each governed by its own joint-stock corporation without regard to the residents' opinions. If residents don't like their government, they can and should move. The design is all 'exit,' no 'voice.'"
Patchwork: a positive vision (part 1)
Later in the same article, he says;
"A patchwork - please feel free to drop the capital - is any network consisting of a large number of small but independent states. To be precise, each state's real estate is its patch; the sovereign corporate owner, ie government, of the patch is its realm. At least initially, each realm holds one and only one patch. In practice this may change with time, but the realm-patch structure is at least designed to be stable."
His design has the effect of subordinating the government to the market. While Nick Land likes Moldbugs' design, he says something about the nature of capital markets in Monkey Business.
"Moldbug’s Neocameralism is a Janus-faced construction. In one direction, it represents a return to monarchical government, whilst in the other it consummates libertarianism by subsuming government into an economic mechanism. A ‘Moldbuggian’ inspiration, therefore, is not an unambiguous thing. Insofar as ‘Neoreaction’ designates this inspiration, it flees Cathedral teleology in (at least) two very different directions — which quite quickly seem profoundly incompatible. In the absence of a secessionist meta-context, in which such differences can be absorbed as geographically-fragmented socio-political variation, their raw inconsistency is almost certainly insurmountable.
"Anissimov can and does speak for himself (at More Right), so I’m not going to undertake a detailed appraisal of his position here. For the purposes of this discussion it can be summarized by a single profoundly anti-capitalist principle: The economy should (and must be) subordinated to something beyond itself.  The alternative case now follows, in pieces.
"Modernity, in which economics and technology rose to their present status (and, at its height, far beyond), is systematically characterized by means-ends reversal. Those things naturally determined as tools of superior purposes came to dominate the social process, with the maximization of resources folding into itself, as a commanding telos. For social conservatives (or paleo-reactionaries) this development has been consistently abominated. It is the deepest theoretical element involved in every rejection of modernity as such (or in general) for its demonic subversion of traditional values.
"In its own terms, this argument is coherent, incisive, and fully convincing, given only the supplementary realistic acknowledgement that intelligence optimization and means-end reversal are the same thing. In a deep historical context — extended to encompass evolutionary history — intelligence is itself a ‘tool’ (as the orthogonalist Friendly AI fraternity are entirely willing to accept). The escape of the tool from super-ordinate purposes, through involution into self-cultivation, is the telic innovation common to capitalism and actual artificial intelligence — which are a single thing. To deplore means-end reversal is — objectively — advocacy for the perpetuation of stupidity."
—Nick Land, from Monkey Business at Outside in
All italics belong to the authors. Underlining is mine.
Patchwork and neocameralism subordinate the government to the market. Market formalism does the opposite: it subordinates the market to the government. Contrary to popular belief, democracy does not actually govern capitalism, but rather, is instead governed by capitalism. Democracy is a coercion market; a marketplace for the purchasing of laws.

What Land calls "means-ends reversal" I call being pozzed by capitalism. Democracy can never govern the market because, being itself a market, the market governs it. Democratic governments do not "make law." Lobbyists write the law and give campaign contributions to Congressmen in order to pass it. The market governs itself.

Moldbugs' system makes the pozz worse by totally subordinating the state to capitalism. This abolishes the Cathedral alright, but it also abolishes race, nation, heritage, and any values that transcend the material. Market formalism "is the same" because it is a species of formalism. It is "the opposite" because it gives the state true control over the market without sacrificing freedom.

It does this by cutting feedback loops between itself and capital firms. Getting rid of bureaucracy abolishes the need to reward supporters (except the military) in order to maintain the keys to the kingdom. It minimizes the number of supporters its needs for power while maximizing economic health and tax revenue. It leaps over the chasm described in the video below by CGP Grey.

Self-governance without democracy is actually an incredible accomplishment. In market formalism the keys to power are, 1. the market regulators, (one for each market), 2. the generals, 3. local market regulation offices, 4. the heads of intelligence agencies. THAT'S IT. All additional keys are investors. People get self-governance because they purchase the laws they want from the market. In fact, the leader maximizes his power by leaving the people alone.

In order to have freedom without democracy you need to separate parasitism from investment. Another way of saying that is that you need to separate the liability column from the asset column. You need the real selectorate and ruling coalition to be vast in the column of investors while the real selectorate and ruling coalition is tiny in the parasitical column. Like this;
A tiny bureaucracy of experts that is easily replaceable governs the market. (potential parasites are kept to a minimum)
A vast cadre of investors elects a large ruling coalition. (number of investors is maximized)
The state acts like a corporation that rules to maximize GDP for its investors. Even if the state is autocratic it has little reason to interfere with the population. In fact, indifference towards the population may actually work in favor of stability since the market provides all necessary law.

What do you think?


  1. > This abolishes the Cathedral alright, but it also abolishes race, nation, heritage, and any values that transcend the material

    Couldn't you say those are outdated in light of how far we come?

    1. I am torn between a perverse (maybe auto-genocidal?) fascination with Artificial General Intelligence and a horror of the prospect man turning into a machine. Market formalism is about preserving some human dignity within the great beast. If man is destined to hell with a Satanic AI running everything, maybe he can preserve some small Garden of Eden hidden in plain sight. As far as progress is concerned, progress may very well be the destruction of everything good: an anti-singularity.