Societies society Uncategorized

Scarcity of Social Capital Sustains Institutions

For almost twenty years it has been pointed out countless times how all the knowledge we get from universities is online for free.  Time after time people have predicted the collapse of universities or that for-profit colleges will take over.  Not only has the institution of the University not collapsed, tuitions are higher than ever and the for-profit colleges are the ones that have seen their business model collapse. At first, this seems counter-intuitive as the corrosion of the establishment’s credibility accelerates.

Though colleges are no longer sacrosanct as they once were they can keep hiking tuition to the pace of loans because there are no viable alternatives.  Red-pill dissidents have spent years bashing the college degree as a “piece of paper” while missing the point.

College offers access to reliable high-status social capital in a modern society where any sort of non-adversarial, high-trust social interaction is extremely scarce.  For most people entering adult life with even slightly above average IQ, campus is the funnel they must squeeze through to avoid the wasteland of service jobs where they’ll live without prospects surrounded for the rest of their lives by people they cannot really connect with. 

Also, there are far more people scrambling to take respectable white collar “real jobs” that require degrees than there are slots available.  This pressure means those who make it have to know someone on the inside.  To establish rapport with someone on the inside they need to have experienced the unique culture of life on campus.  People reach out and help those they feel are like them and with whom they have shared culture and experiences.  To get that gen X manager to reminisce about college days over lunch while you’re there as an unpaid intern can easily be the difference between having a career and being a barista. 

For those who do not go to university the military is one of the last sure reservoirs of reliable social capital.  The most cynical blue collar people you’ll ever meet will curse about the polticians, the government, the country but still glow with almost religious reverence if you mention the military and thank you profusely “for your service” if you were ever in it.  For average people who did not grow up with deep, high quality roots to see them through life, that’s pretty much the last social ladder available to them.

Then there is of course the public education system.   The crowning genius of the 19th century-style nation-state may well be the ability of compulsory mass education to standardize culture.  People instinctively understand that even if someone learns better through home-schooling, they are at a disadvantage by not having the standard life experiences in the standard environment installed in their meatware.  Someone who strays away from the insitutional status ladder finds themselves standing just outside the tribal circle as they interview for jobs, vie for promotions, try to make friends, and go out on dates.

The backbone of a society is not jobs, an economy, or even armed men.  The central structures of society are ladders and funnels leading to high quality social capital like lifelong friends, stable social roles, family, marriage, or even just the bare minimum status to be seen as eligible in one’s dating pool.  In a hunter gatherer band or a traditional agrarian village there are rites of initiation to test for eligibility and connect cooperators with the social capital they need to flourish.
The nation-state institutionalized these networks on a mass scale of millions.  The industrial revolution did not just lead to the mass production of goods, but also of culture and social status.

This assembly line of souls is still very crude compared to the simple organization of a village.  With such a large system, a glitch can send 10 million souls tumbling into the abyss where they have no role and no one cares if they live or die.  Overwhelming numbers made these casualties sustainable.

When everyone has been to the same sort of schools since they could walk, then go to the same boot camps, you can crank out 100 divisions of soldiers who can all understand each other and work together.  The 21st century however has heralded the shift away from mass culture and the return to inequality, caste, tribe, and natural aristocracy.

Neo-tribal groups are sprouting through the drab concrete slabs of the establishment but they will only be able to displace institutions when they can bust the monopoly of social capital and offer better prospects of meaningful belonging.

By Giovanni Dannato

In 1547 I was burnt at the stake in Rome for my pernicious pamphlet proclaiming that the heavens were not filled with a profusion of aether, but rather an extensive vacuum.
Now, the phlogiston that composed my being has re-manifested centuries in the future so that I may continue the task that was inconveniently disrupted so long ago.
Now, I live in Rome on the very street where I (and others) were publicly burnt. To this day, the street is known as what I would translate as 'Heretic's Way'. My charming residence is number 6 on this old road. Please, do come inside and pay me a visit; I should be delighted to spew out endless pedagoguery to one and all...

21 replies on “Scarcity of Social Capital Sustains Institutions”

Fine article.

This suggests a couple of things to me.

The heavy leftward shift of colleges and other institutions is increasing the internal contradictions in the society and speeding its collapse . I mean we are watching Hollywood become discredited in almost real time which can’t have good effects on stability . That capital can become hazardous at an alarming speed

second that the Clinton Doctrine (named for President Bill Clinton’s actions during the Gulf War against the media) basically allowing the press and the like to be treated as lawful targets in war, suggest that if there is revolution , the revolutionaries may end up destroying the institutions instead of saving them This tends to concentrate social capital with the revolutionaries

Now normally “Conservative.” sorts unless they are driven by religion or that kind of ideology do not engage in this kind of activity

This is because they want to well, conserve the basis of power and legitimacy but if, big if, this happens the nature of the rotation of the elite who are uniformly socially and economically liberal, just differing in degree to socially and economically conservative might create a role reversal .

Assuming that the leader the Right is waiting for arrives instead of it being a self organizing swarm system , I’m guessing that leader will be Evangelical Cromwell though how much land he will control, and it will be a he, and how much will be seceded to rival but friendly fractions or still in enemy hands is hard to tell

I guess Gen Z and their younger kids will be finding out first hand along with an aging Gen Y , a few younger boomers and the older Gen X

May You Live in Interesting Times

The education thing is actually mainly a consequence of the labor glut due to the global population explosion, which has affected the US due to offshoring to overpopulated cheap labor countries and immigration. Automation has also contributed, though not as much.

With a labor glut, employers can impose any “funnels” they want, and they have chosen to make a college degree a requirement.

Its not clear why this is, but government regulation of businesses and consolidation of businesses into oligopolies in each industry means that hiring practices are pretty standardized across companies. They pretty much all hire the same types of people.

The effect is the same as if there was a requirement for an “employment license” to take a job, that cost a couple years’ wages. Since everyone needs a job, everyone would pretty much get one, so the employment license wouldn’t do anything to get you a job, but you would need it to interview.

People don’t get this because they keep taking the system’s claims to have something to do with education at face value.

“…employers can impose any “funnels” they want, and they have chosen to make a college degree a requirement.

Its not clear why this is…”

It’s my understanding that affirmative action made it where giving tests to perspective employees as a basis for hiring was attacked judicially and that the only other easy way for employers to test, while not testing, was demand a college degree. As college degrees become more and more worthless I bet at some point we go back to testing.

The “employers use college degrees as proxies for IQ tests” meme is a red state myth that Lion of the Blogosphere just exploded:


But most of his own commentators don’t seem to get it.

The same cited Supreme Court ruling also said you couldn’t use college degrees.

Part of the problem that red-state types have with this is that they don’t realize that employers really don’t want to hire smart people.

I just read the link you linked and it doesn’t say that you can’t use college degrees. It says high school diplomas.

Ed has it correct. Almost no employer wants smart employees

If the guy is very smart, he might take his managers job and decent jobs are mostly zero sum do to a global labor surplus and automation.

When this isn’t the case, almost all work in todays environment is make work anyway in which thinking is counterproductive

Problem is if you right size the work force to its real level , your business will become too brittle

This is either do to lack of flexibility in case of surges, loss of skills or just demand starvation. In essence, the modern business has to pay for a lot of dead weight otherwise it won’t have customers or skilled labor in the future.

This leads to a toxic work environment

The solution is basically closing borders, removing immigrant labor and removing women all the while lowering the work week and balancing the budget .

You have a better chance to fly to Cleavland by flapping your arms

Yes, Ed gets it. College selects for average IQ or slightly above plus key personality traits like obedience, conformity, conscientiousness, gregariousness.
Employers get very, very creative at working around the system when they feel it could help their bottom line.(illegal immigration!) There are countless easy IQ proxy tests they could use if they wanted to. Apparently self-important brainiac aspies rocking the boat aren’t what they want.
College gives them a steady supply of the optimal breed of human tailored to specifications and better yet they are all in debt and effectively chained to their jobs until they’ve at least paid off the cost of training.
And all these finishing schools are paid for the by the prospective help themselves and the taxpayer. What status quo could be cushier?
The suggestion that the corporations would help us or enact our ideal meritocracy if only they were freed from government rules is nonsense.

I like his post, it reads almost like a story. Years ago, I used to be connected to the Neanderthal theory community and I still think it makes a useful allegory for the interaction of different neurotypes in society. What he is describing is the love of normal people for firm, collectivist structure. Most people, even in the relatively individualistic West, hopelessly malfunction if they don’t have an immediate task given them by an authority figure. One of my first big lessons in human nature was that no matter how much people complain, most of them like the security of a 9-5 job and would never quit if they could. They are just venting routine daily frustrations.
I had one of those eureka moments when I happened to be reading about dog psychology. I realized that the psychology of just about any pack/troop dwelling social mammal approximates normal human psychology pretty well.

I don’t really understand Spandrell’s “Biological Leninism” essay. I thought I’d ask about it here because there are already like 70 comments over there so probably nobody will bother explaining it to me.
So, is he imagining that the Russian and Chinese revolutions were basically like this — that Creepy Adjuncts gathered a host of minions made up of ugly women, brown people, and homos, and seized power from the Natural Lords, and that the Creepy Adjuncts, being somewhat competent and smart, stayed in control the whole time and basically got rid of the ugly women, brown people, and homos when they didn’t need them anymore?

I’ve just read biological-leninism and actually came here to recommend Giovanni read it. It’s outstanding. It’s right up there with some of Giovanni’s great works.

Whether he says he is or not Spandrell is Alt-Right or in that vein. I believe people like Giovanni, He and Anonymous Conservative are providing a great service. “Understanding”. I really believe that the techniques of Trump and Vox Days’ SJW books are tools that can defeat the SJW’s. I think it clear you have to publicly and forcefully reject what they say to you and about you. Trying to reason with them is a complete waste of time. Cucking will just bring you grief. I believe as AC said that a large part of the SJW’s are just following whatever line they think will do them the most good and if the Right makes enough noise they will lose faith at first and then if the roar is loud enough fall in line.

One of the biggest mistakes of the enlightenment was to suppose humans are capable of reason. Humans are rational but not reasonable. Ever since I just started matching people’s rhetoric with their incentives for status, money, sex, and power all the noise is suddenly decoded. The vast majority of humanity never has to think about it. Those who do are the strange outliers.

I think he’s saying that the Bureaucratic Class (which emerged under the 17th Century Absolute Monarchs) defeated the Business and Landowning Classes by assembling hordes of low-status dummies to use as disposable minions in human-wave attacks. Then, when the Bureaucratic Class had consolidated its power and didn’t need the low-status dummy-horde anymore, it got rid of the dummies.

Let’s call the Bureaucratic Class “B”, the Business Class “C” (for “Capitalist”) and the Landowners “A” (for “Aristocrat”). Then there are clearly also upper and lower As, Bs, and Cs. The Twentieth Century revolutionaries tend to be lower Bs (kids headed for the lower ranks of the Bureaucracy). We’ll call all of the low-status dummies “S” (for “Scum”).

So those revolutions look like this: LowerB+S vs. everybody else.

Here in the West the Revolution looks very different, because it looks like the Elite Business guys are in charge, the whole Bureaucracy serves them, and the low-status dummies serve as foot-soldiers. And the landowning class is gone, of course. (The Yeomen or Free Farmers were absorbed into the Lower Business Class by 1950.) So, it’s UpperC+B+S against LowerB.

Spandrell’s point about the similar use of low-status dummy-hordes of whatever composition as disposable foot-soldiers remains, but the whole structure of the Revolution looks different because Elite Capitalists, not Lower Bureaucrats, are running the operation.

I mean (at the end of the second to last paragraph), “it’s UpperC+B+S against LowerC”. Against Lower Business. (I was screwed up by the fact that “Bureaucracy” and “Business” both start with “B”. Sorry.)

What stuck out for me was his talk about how status was used to overthrow the structure. Giovanni talks about this frequently. If I hadn’t have been reading Giovanni’s works so long I would not really recognize how important status is. I do now.

Myself I guess I’m somewhat longing for status as others are but I don’t think it drives me as much as some people. I’m perfectly happy out of the crowd and a bit of an introvert so maybe that’s why.

I’ve since read Spandrell’s essay and I felt it expanded on points he’s made for years:
That in any system of power, insuring loyalty comes first.
The Sultan doesn’t trust men’s good will around his harem, he sends eunuchs to watch over them instead.
When we can choose, we want cooperators for whom defection is not an option, especially when putting your trust in the wrong place means you and your whole family get tortured, humiliated, and executed.
The coalition of the fringes is made of people who have everything to lose if their movement falls from power and so they are motivated to be loyal and to fight as hard as they can.
Employers love college just the way it is because graduates have debt to pay that keeps them loyal to their first job.
Every social group has costly loyalty signals members must broadcast to have even a chance of access to status.
Spandrell’s biological Leninism is just a version of this impulse on the scale of a mass society.
He as usual writes of gloomy worst case scenarios. I see an obvious weakness with shameless rule of the worst. Once they dominate a system they wreck it and kill their golden goose. I suppose it’s human nature to project present trends indefinitely.

Campus isn’t enough to guarantee the funnel; especially if you’re an introvert. Many an intelligent introvert w/a degree gets stuck in no-prospects land surrounded by people of lower IQ.

And many societal issues are solvable if there were drastic measures like closed borders, women out of work/school, and educating for essential jobs (thereby backing up the labor supply for what HAS to be done), and eliminating all the consumer crap and useless jobs.

The shorter work week IS possible. Near unemployment IS possible. But only through so-called draconian measures.

But none of this will EVER happen. Mass society is filled with idiots will always be ruled by profit driven corporations. . .if we’re lucky! Because any dictator that emerges will not be benign and likely a commie/antifa/SJW lunatic.

“Campus isn’t enough to guarantee the funnel; especially if you’re an introvert. Many an intelligent introvert w/a degree gets stuck in no-prospects land surrounded by people of lower IQ.”
Bingo. Most of the university hierarchies and hiring pipelines filter out introverts pretty effectively. It’s pretty much understood their only place in above-subsistence society is in STEM and the trades.
This is a trap the lower middle class/upper working class(tradesmen, small business owners) fall into very easily. They naively believe in honest hard work and don’t understand how power and patronage really works. They send children who have neither the right temperament or acculturation blissfully into the meatgrinder and 4 years later they have a piece of paper to show for it.

A university is an institution much like a trail of breadcrumbs to Hanzel and Gretel are. They are good for the technical fields but remain of little use to the dark enlightenment thinkers and almost act as a restraint. Information is distilled into the forms of pop psychology slag and the rest conveniently forgotten until the next test arises.

Universities can’t teach everything. Especially not how to become the next dark triad warlock. Very few (if any) psychology professors have successfully emulated their intuitive cunning and wit. A lot of that knowledge comes from elsewhere. I’m sure many universities would find it objectionable to stray from their de rigeur of “higher knowledge”.

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