FORWARD BASE B

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Category Archives: economics

There’s No Such Thing As “Free Markets”

Whenever I hear someone start to toss around phrases like “free markets” and complain about “big government” and “regulations.” I know I’m likely talking to a libertarian or neo-conservative shill making excuses for crony capitalism.  

The idea that there can be “free markets” in an anarchic capitalist society is a clever joke—a reality that dawns at some point on idealistic anarcho-libertarian undergrads that want to say they believe in something that sounds cool to say.  One day in between bong hits, it hits them—who pays taxes if no one makes them pay?  If you have no taxes how do you stop military invasion from even the most mediocre states?
Anyone pushing these ideas after age 30 are likely either fools or just sociopaths who want less rules so they can try to screw over everyone else.

Markets cannot exist without a state that uses the threat of force to guarantee property, profits, and contracts.  Thus the state has the implicit prerogative and responsibility to control the market.

Imagine what would happen to the local grocery if all police and soldiers disappeared.  The grocery would be forced to hire the local gang to defend their merchandise and before long, that gang would become the new state getting protection money(taxes) in exchange for their services.  Then, the guys with the guns, of course, get to call the shots.  

If the grocery owners hatch schemes to bleed the rest of community dry for their own benefit, the gangsters start to lose out on their neighborhood protection rackets.  The furious gangsters respond by threatening to shoot the store owners if they don’t follow certain rules.  Thus, we get regulations, which no market lacks.  The market itself is regulated into existence by the gangsters’ guns.

Even most “free market” ideologues can’t claim to believe in actual completely free market.  They usually recognize the need to prevent monopolies and try to have a “level playing field.”  But they are slippery and try to blame the centralization of wealth into monopolies on “big government” ineptitude and corruption.  In fact, power tends to centralize over time whether we speak of political bodies or business enterprises.  In real life, big, powerful government is the only thing that keeps markets competitive.

The market is one of the most powerful and flexible tools known for organizing and channeling the creative power of humanity.  Used properly, it can give rise to prosperous nations.  But it is first a tool to improve society, not an end unto itself.  Business exists to serve the people and is fundamentally subordinate to the needs of the tribe.

When businesses are allowed to do whatever they wish while enjoying the protection of armed men, the state creates and aids the growth of competitors for its power to rule.  The market is a dangerous tool that must be handled with firm discipline.  

If the gangsters grow soft, the grocery store competes with them for money that would’ve gone into taxes and eventually has its own armed men.  If the gangsters lose the ensuing struggle, the grocery store becomes the new government.  Then the grocery store has to worry about staying in power just like the gangsters did.  

The worst possible state, actually, is when the market is let to grow out of control with no responsibility for governing.  Then business, which should be enriching the neighborhood becomes like a brood of writhing tapeworms bloating the collective body even as it starves from within.

There will always be corruption and ineptitude in government so long as governments are ran by people, or even by machines programmed by people—and therefore infused with human bias. It has been argued endlessly if government is good or bad.  What cannot be debated is whether government is necessary and those who try to say otherwise in favor of business are most likely traitors.

Extreme Individualism Is Why Whites Don’t Run Hollywood

Every day, message boards flare with rage and envy at successful groups like American Jews, blaming the situation always on conspiracies, never on their own shortcomings as a people.
Why, they wonder are half the supreme court justices, authors, famous scientists, all the movie studios Jewish?

Though Jews have an advantage in brains on average, there are so few of them, this alone can’t explain their dominance.  With tens of millions of whites to draw from, there’s no shortage of people who could compete with them, if they had decent teamwork.

Part of the formula for success is rich Jews identify members of their community with potential in the long term and get them the money and loans they need to focus completely on projects that interest them.

There’s no way the individually competitive white community would identify someone brainy and eloquent, then allow them sometimes to putter around into their 30s before there’s a payoff.  That’s pretty much the life story of Bernie Sanders.  He probably wouldn’t have become a US senator if he had to focus his energies on a 9-5 job instead. 

Extreme apex ventures like professional acting, writing, art, politics, academics, journalism are too risky and too expensive for atomized individuals to participate in.  That just leaves an open field for a group that backs each other up and makes investments in developing their own human capital.  

If a group doesn’t want to show up for the game, they can’t complain when they don’t win.  Then the cohesive team of people who took control of all the high risk/high reward ventures secure immense power over society.

What’s sad is white society didn’t always believe “every man is for himself,” “the world doesn’t owe you anything,” and “you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.”

Alexander Hamilton comes to mind as a good example.  He grew up in the Caribbean as an illegitimate kid.  His mother, strapped for cash, died when he was still young.  In our current society, he’d disappear into the foster system and dysfunctional public “education” never to be heard from again.

In an ironically less backwards 18th century, the local property owners noticed Hamilton was extremely bright, mature for his age, with an excellent work ethic.  They trained him in the sugar cane export business and then as he continued to show promise, pooled their money to send him to university in New York.

The community support that Hamilton benefited from would be unthinkable in modern white culture.  In fact, with jobs that pay even the simplest living now scarce, workers take perverse joy in someone like Hamilton falling through the cracks.

They love to waggle their fingers patronizingly and say  “Look how I pulled myself up while that smart guy turned out to be a loser.”  A quick glance at reality TV shows us how taking pleasure in watching others fail while we are safe serves as porn for both sexes.

A culture of extreme individualism devolves into the backstabbing and treachery of royal court politics until nothing gets done and no one cares anymore about real accomplishment, just “getting ahead” through “networking.”  The greatest object of scorn is the poor cuckold fool who gets things done and the most admired the clever manager who takes all the credit for it.
 
No wonder even the most popular fantasy story, Game of Thrones, takes place in a world where no one is good, everyone ruthlessly schemes in a royal court, and all things magical and fantastic lie dormant.

Meanwhile, the Jews see someone like Hamilton in their community and give him a chance.  Maybe he turns out to be a loser after all or just doesn’t quite make the cut for the big time.  But if the gamble pays, they have a US senator or an A list actor that’s from their own group and now owes them favors.

Success stories in developing human capital teach us apex ability at anything requires identifying talent early and giving it direction.

Alexander Hamilton was running businesses by the time he was a teenager.  David Farragut was responsible for ships by the time he was 12 years old.

By age 18 after 12 years of public school boredom, smart kids have already had much of their potential wasted and millions of them have already checked out from a senseless and stupid society that gleefully wastes their time.

Much of this stupidity comes from the failed religion of equalism.  In the 18th century most people had the common sense to understand that the most talented people have superior genes and surpass other people at an early age.

In some ways their society had more opportunity precisely because it didn’t buy into equality.  If a 12 year old could perform at an adult level, he just might get a chance to rise to his potential.

Until white society rejects its failed culture of atomized competition, they will always be the puppets of smarter groups who can work together and promote their own.

They can blame the Jews and pogrom them all tomorrow but the next day, someone else comes along to fill the vacuum and dominates them, again beating them bloody with a riding crop as they squeal in impotent rage through a ball gag.  
And there they stay trapped in humiliating servitude to more cohesive tribes until they change themselves.

It’s the Chinese handcuffs of culture.  As soon as white society finally examines and changes its attitudes, cultural autonomy suddenly becomes effortless.

Most Wealth is Wasted in Modern Society

Of the massive 15 trillion dollar per year US economy there is undoubtedly some millions that comprise the fake plant industry.  
Fake plants serve to accentuate the soullessness of your typical office or waiting area with a parody of nature.  The materials and labor that goes into them serves no essential purpose nor does it make anyone happier.  What then is the point?

Why not just have fake plant makers stay at home with basic income if they’re wasting time and resources?  The system works by most people being forced to sell their labor(not everyone can be entrepeneurs) so they have food to eat and rent for their landlords. Why do we assume all labor must be good when every other living thing rests when it can?

The other side of this equation is consumerism that operates on the Keynesian assumption that all economic activity is worthwhile, and the more of it the better, no matter what.  And if you ever doubt it, you’re a commie or worse, a socialist!
This encourages an economy based on make-work that gets people a paycheck so they can buy more stuff without anything of value getting done.

So if I were emperor I might outlaw the manufacture of fake plants.  Maybe there’d be a black market for them and maybe fake plant dealers from time to time would get a whipping in the public square or get pilloried and pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes.  

At the very least it would make fake plants more expensive and lower quality so fewer people would bother.  Being  a worthless “good” that no one really likes, there would be no Al Capone of fake plants.

Growing up in the 90s, I saw the social order of consumerism at its absolute peak.  Even people of modest means lived in decent-sized houses and their garages were invariably full to bursting with thousands of dollars worth of frivolous toys they never used.
 
I remember getting taken to house parties with my parents and seeing whole collections of the brand new DVDs worth hundreds of dollars that just sat there in glass cabinets, never removed from their plastic in houses that were so fastidiously clean, they didn’t even seem lived in.

I would get a feeling of dread and black depression in the pit of my stomach.  I could sense it was signs of sickness and decay though I couldn’t articulate or explain, even if someone in the smugly triumphalist 90s would have listened to such talk.

I reflect on my childhood and remember how most people given more money than they need to live just blow it all on stupid fads and status signalling anyway and are just as miserable and greedy as they were before.

Actually I perceived a thinly veiled cynicism, viciousness, and jadedness pervading most everything, even in other kids, who would’ve slit a throat for more Abercrombie and Fitch apparel. There were no loyalties or values, just things.

I remember those times as the worst and darkest of my life even though I spent my 20s perilously close to going completely broke as I had to teach myself the laws of real world survival from scratch after getting a worthless degree.

For all the pain it has caused, I actually think the challenges of the 21st century have forced people to reflect again on what is really important in life—and discredited the corrupt 1960s cultural revolution.  In some ways, it would have been the true nightmare if that on-paper prosperity had gone on forever.

Giving the commoners excessive wealth through the labor market or by welfare is like inflating the college degree or home loan markets.

The trouble in understanding this lies in enlightenment delusions of “perfectly rational” human behavior.  Or in other words assuming that people will always strive to improve their situations in a stricly pragmatic material sense.

In reality, beyond getting basic necessities met, most people just care about attracting desirable mates, making friends, and starting families.  
Humans as social animals are hardwired to compete for social prestige by any means necessary.

Like many other animals we see in the wild, human males try to build bowers and put on courtship displays to impress females.  Females spend most of their time and money acquiring accessories and grooming their plumage to impress the best bower builders.

As the level of wealth rises in society, the bowers get bigger and the accessories get more elaborate.  The dark side of this is if you don’t jump on the fad wagon and compete with the Joneses, you get left behind or even cast out from society.

Eventually you have a society where social signalling with more expensive houses, cars, and credentials puts all the wealth in the world straight down the toilet.

Human status is relative to what other people have and that’s why those who say “But US poorz is better off than African Kingz cuz they’re fat and they’ve got microwave ovens.” are full of crap—and they know it.

So if I were emperor, I would put restrictions on what kinds of houses are legal to build.  No more oversized houses with shoddy architecture and cheap materials that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

I would insist on durable materials suitable for the climate at reasonable prices that are large enough to do what’s necessary, especially anywhere near the cities where land is scarce.  It wouldn’t even take that long to phase out the current generation of houses that are considered “old” after 30 years.

There would be no more luxury cars for commoners.  No more hummers and pickup trucks on the road(unless you live off-road, have a farm, or a small business).  Excessively big vehicles just force everyone else to get bigger, more expensive cars if they want to survive a collision and consume ridiculous amounts of gas.  For 99% of people it makes more sense to rent a uhaul for the day if they need to move some stuff.

The credential factory universities wouldn’t get free money anymore and would have to answer directly to market forces.  They would probably just go back to being a socialization service for the upper middle class and up.

I would also abolish all employment laws concerning race and sex, granting peoples complete freedom of association.

I would make it legal to use IQ tests or other aptitude tests for employment to make a huge chunk of the bloated credential economy obsolete overnight.

I’m sure some who read this will choke with indignation at this “infringement of individual property rights” etc. etc. But I really see it as more mundane than that.  No different than rules against business owners burning down their competitors’ shops or building codes that limit how high or prominent signs can be.

A clear basic duty of those who control the guys with guns is to keep competition at all levels of society within healthy limits so they in turn can compete with other groups of guys with guns.

Let’s imagine for a moment that we take away those building codes.  Overnight, restaurants would build ever larger, taller, more brightly flashing signs and decoration to get attention even as the quality of the burgers they’re selling plummets.

This is exactly what happens when a population has no rules of social competition.  It simply escalates out of control until the most fabulously wealthy society in history is mired in crushing debt and most people are living paycheck to paycheck.

The core problem is that we actually idolize the social order of endless escalation that is destroying us.  Like countless empires before us that squandered their inheritance, we will find ourselves suddenly vulnerable to barbarian incursions from every side and our ability to unite, fight, and trust in our fellow man utterly extinguished in the endless war of all against all that we worship.

Until we rethink our basic assumptions about wealth and human nature, we are like Tantalus doomed to be thirsty and hungry though surrounded by all the wealth of the world, satisfaction always just out of reach.

Perhaps, we may even begin to dream of heresies—would living in a basic mudbrick house and a basic car be bad if we didn’t have to worry about basics of life like healthcare?
If you can’t buy a McMansion or lame crap like fake plants, and you don’t have to worry about becoming a debt slave for life if you trip once on a flight of stairs or slip in the shower, suddenly the unthinkable might occur.  The urge to get more money even if it destroys your entire society, might just diminish and economic activity become limited to where it does the most good.

The Backwardness of Consumerism

Many of the same people that worship free markets and everlasting economic growth also express indignation at the arrival of millions of immigrants.
What they fail to understand is the immigrants are a natural result of their ideology. A system that just grows wealth and tries to speed up the circulation of wealth at any price cares nothing for peoples or their silly customs.

In its calculus, there are just countless individual consumers keeping the machine turning over.  It matters not where the consumers are from or whether they have friends or families unless, of course, it results in them buying more products or changes their commercial preferences.  The primary importance of a baby of course is that it consumes little jars of baby food and lots of cute outfits it soon grows out of.  If the baby’s food was made at home out of cheap basic ingredients and its wardrobe minimized, it would of course hurt the economy.  Someone somewhere would lose a job and upon learning of it, a free market acolyte somewhere else would quietly cry into his pillow at night.  What more heretical thing could such a man imagine than less movement of wealth actually benefiting society?

If banding together with others reduces their market expenditures, breaking them up into atomized individuals stimulates the economy on paper, producing like clockwork the greatest good for the greatest many in the best of all possible societies, happily ever after.

If the growth ever slackens, the collective mood darkens, politicians get voted out of office, and economic pundits look flustered over graphs of acronyms.  This happens every few years or so until a “stimulus” or the “exuberance” of the masses manages to get the gravy train of progress back on track up towards the sky.  That’s the fundamental problem with all schools of the progress religion.  Sound systems are first engineered to withstand the worst conditions, not just to stand up when the going is good.

The medieval European world could operate with some commonsense restrictions on finance, limiting the importance of loans in the economy, a mindset that would be unthinkable now.
A turning point may have been reached in Europe when a feudal military that could lay dormant when not needed was made obsolete by professional standing armies.  This is when the financialization of society really took off with monarchs locked in a competitive race to pay for their wars of economic attrition with each other, which ultimately destroyed their power.

In the real world we see groups with simpler economies based around tribal identities like the Amish, Hutterites, or Orthodox Jews effortlessly thriving while the average citizen of the empire they live in can’t afford a single child after rent and car payments, not to mention, the uncertainty of employment that allows them to sustain what they’ve already got.
You would think their closer participation in the growth economy with all its outstanding “financial products” would put them far ahead of such backwards folk.
It is perhaps the consumerists who live a backwards existence dominated by the caprices of the ticker tape.

The free market types understand very well that trust underpins the value, of money, bonds, pretty much all securities.  Yet they can’t comprehend that if you want people to raise the next generation they must feel secure and trust there is a future.  If you want anyone to care about a society they must feel invested in it somehow.  
When you have a nation of freelance mercenaries, the first storm to come along reveals its fatal structural weakness and sends it crumbling to the ground.

When we understand this basic problem we understand how Obama represented the established system getting one last chance to fix things.  They failed, so from now on, the reaction to consumerist dystopia dominates the discourse.
It is no longer enough to present charts and claim that x line went up by 1% to establish state legitimacy. No one cares. Until people see wealth that is effectively managed in their interests, they will not stop.

A Trumpist populist movement that begins with people who just want jobs and borders might end with people asking “What is the purpose of wealth and production?”
“Are some forms of wealth creation more valuable than others?”
As soon as people begin to face these questions, new frontiers fly open.

At present, the only alternative we can imagine is a disastrous centrally planned economy.  This example is used to brainwash us into submitting to a market machine that churns out things without any plan at all.  What if we considered that free markets are to economies as direct democracies run by mob rule are to governments?
What if we considered guiding society’s use of wealth with a larger vision rather than endless production and consumption for its own sake?

The Cancer of Consumer Capitalism

The United States is the wealthiest nation on Earth, perhaps even in the history of the world.  Yet if we go to the nearest grocery store we can see an endless flow of haggard, overworked people trying to make ends meet.  The culture of the US is one of lonely “individualism” with most people locked in desperate competition with each other, to the extent they interact with their fellow man at all in any meaningful way.  Despite  all the new clothes, cars, and houses, fewer people have children or see a worthwhile future every year.
The US is the ultimate example of how the way a society uses and stores wealth is more important than how much wealth it has.

The cause of America’s contradictions is its holy ideology of consumer capitalism, the ideas of the 18th century enlightenment with its worship of the rational individual, of Bentham, Marx, Smith taken down a slippery slope to their ultimate absurdity.
What we end up with is an entire society based around the principle that more is always better.
There are no questions of mission or purpose.  There are only hundreds of millions of rational interchangeable agents making decisions of pleasure and pain every day.  Whether the outcome is optimal or even desirable at all, is a question that cannot even be framed.
We are told relentlessly that it is the best of all possible systems and that the invisible hand always knows what’s really best for us.

If we read about 15 minutes of history common sense makes it clear that societies are organisms that compete and cooperate in complex ecosystems. Individual humans are rather like cells in these social bodies.  What one person does affects everyone else.  A society made of purely self-interested people is a body riddled with cancer cells.  Rapacious enlightened individuals, like cancer cells hungrily guzzle all the glucose they desire for a time, until the host expires, or in its weakened state is killed by an opportunistic rival.  Then the rational cancer that thought itself God unceremoniously dies along with the body.
Enduring societies have to consider the good of the body first.  For if it dies, all the concerns of the cells are rendered moot.
The insistence of consumerism on everlasting growth is to prescribe cancer as the remedy.

Nothing grows forever and ultimately lives within its finite bounds.  Working within these limits is the mandate of living things.
Resilient natural systems make the most of scarce resources while our system is devoted to getting as little benefit as possible from even the most unimaginable abundance.
A wasteful system like this one assumes the good times never end.  It has no goals and simply burns up what it gets.
A resilient system has set goals that it tries to achieve as effectively as possible with as little energy as possible.  Then it shores itself up against times of scarcity and disaster.  What energy isn’t spent supports rest and leisure, the reward for a job well done.

Living in a consumerist society is to live on a treadmill.  Since there is no purpose there are no tasks to be done, only endless work that can never be complete.  Worse, the work must be endless or else the entire system collapses overnight.  Millions of people live lives of desperate dependance on jobs they hate stuck most of the time with people they despise so they do not starve, become involuntary celibates, and become disowned by their fair-weather friends and family.  It’s a special kind of hell that favors the insane and this is what we think is normal.  It is a comfort that this sort of depraved system cannot last.

See Also: 
Lack of A Long Term is the Problem With Capitalism

Competition Between Societies: Desert Plants vs. Garden Plants

Civilization is Natural

Strategic Laziness

Our universe tends towards entropy and chaos.  As complexity of organization increases, resistance rises exponentially, like trying to force two opposing magnets together. (It’s always megafauna, T Rex or Mammoths that go extinct, not E. coli)  Looking at the natural world here on earth it’s quickly clear that every living thing expends as little energy as possible to persist.  Lions with full stomachs sleep most of the time, desert toads hibernate for years in between rains, birds with no predators lose the ability to fly over time. Nothing works harder than it must.  The more complex and energy-intensive the solution, the harder it is to sustain.

Trouble arises, though, when you’re a flightless, fearless dodo perfectly well adapted to your environment and suddenly humans show up. Or likewise, you’re a fit dinosaur species but prove unable to cope with a nuclear winter caused by asteroid impact possibly combining with volcanic eruptions to form a perfect disaster.  Evolution alone can’t plan ahead or anticipate rare catastrophic events.  This is why I think some living things have been pushed towards higher levels of awareness despite its massive costs, so they can be strategically lazy spending as little effort as possible while avoiding the dangers of only responding to constant, familiar stressors.

 The peacock’s tail is one of my favorite examples against the infallibility of nature.  It’s a natural pattern we see often in corporate, governmental, civilizational bloat.  All that sacred competition gets you something that maybe looks pretty but is a worse-than-useless burden sucking huge amounts of energy.  It teaches us that the patterns of civilizations and corporations are every bit as natural as the rippling of sand dunes.  Perhaps the most devastating doctrine of the enlightenment was to hubristically treat man and nature, not only as separate, but as opposites.

When I was about 12 years old, I was responsible for weeding the yard.  Trouble was, there were more seeds constantly blowing in from the desert and most of the lot was dirt and gravel that was perfect for them.  I well knew that even going over the whole yard with a hoe a couple times a week wouldn’t accomplish much.  In a few days, new sprouts were coming up everywhere.  In fact, killing everything just favored the worst sort of thorns that hugged the ground in choking vines, and dropped thousands of their sharp barbs that deflated basketballs and stuck in shoe soles by the dozens.
I noticed at the same time that a lot of the desert plants had pretty flowers, lacked thorns or sticky leaves, and had roots that were easy to pull up if I needed to.  I started what I then called “selective weeding” and let the desert weeds I liked flourish while punishing the thorn vines and the russian thistles that turn into tumbleweeds.
Before long, there was a colorful garden of desert flowers outside my bedroom window alive with the buzzing of bees.  The thorn plants were not even 1/10th of the problem they used to be once they had competition.
Of course my parents eventually asked me why I wasn’t doing my job.  I tried to explain what I was doing, but no one listens to a 7th grade kid trying to avoid work and I was told to take care of it.  So knowing full well what would happen next, I went out and uprooted my experiment.  Soon enough, the thorns were back in force despite our best efforts.
This was a formative experience that influenced my world view ever since.  I learned the futility of sustaining a vacuum against equilibrium.
I later saw the same problems I encountered doing childhood yard chores over and over again in 6000 years of failed human governments.  At some point there’s always well-intentioned policies that try to defy the equilibrium, end up favoring the thorns, and the rest is history.

I came to realize as I grew up in a frantically workaholic American society that nature in fact favors laziness.  An animal at leisure is well-fed and prosperous, a creature that must always work is failing at the game of survival.  It helped explain to me the widespread stress and misery of what should be by all rights a prosperous and happy land.  Constant labor tells us on a gut level that we are always on the brink of starvation, however many mansions and cars we may own.  Some of us become adrendaline junkies while others get ground down into burnouts that just go through the motions.  Whatever someone’s station, there’s just an interminable “job” never a tangible task that has a beginning and an end after which one enjoys the fruits of a job well done.  That I realized is the peculiar insanity of industrial civilization—a trap of Sisyphean futility most are stuck in until they’re dead.
As I approached adulthood I came to understand there was no luxury on earth greater than the power to simply do nothing.

The basic problem of modern civilization is that it favors extravagant solutions arrived at through extreme, specialized competition like the peacock’s tail.
A sense of minimalism, strategic laziness, yields simpler, more resilient, more adaptable solutions.  
Even when gatekeepers force peacock competition with a strategic bottleneck, the payoff for finding a low cost workaround or substitute is very high.

No Going Back to the 1950s – And What Lies Ahead

Some who celebrate (or mourn) Trump’s victory seem to think we will return to the 1950s status quo.
That won’t happen as never in history has any other historical period been revived despite the best efforts of thousands of years of reformers.  Erasmus always loses and even a successful Diocletian or Constantine end up creating something new rather than bringing back the old.
What we are left with is to figure out where we’re at and where the forces in play will take us.

To begin with, a majority of marriage age adults are now single and I do not foresee the trend away from matrimony will change anytime soon.  In practice a society of “free love” leaves a majority of males making free love to their hands but everyone dreams of having multiple desirable partners, the fulfillment of which always seems to be just a few clicks away.  Though most people will mathematically end up losers, the lure of being a winner is just too good to pass up.  Besides, the old system just isn’t cool.
Customs of matrimony require centuries, if not millennia of traditional reinforcement to establish and once undone require the right forces to coalesce once more.  Matrimony is reinforced by a pre-industrial world where resources are much scarcer and the long term pooling of resources between males, females, and their families is necessary for survival.  Marriage isn’t fun and it never was for fun.  It’s all about preserving resources in hard times and providing support for offspring whose survival was uncertain even with the best possible care.  So long as most people feel confident they’ll at least be able to eat and that their illegitimate kids will survive, it won’t change.  The combination of a steady basic food supply with low hopes of property acquisition, and social atomization that discourages pooling of family resources is an especially potent combination of disincentives.
Marriage will become much like it used to be, an institution that mostly serves the needs of the propertied classes.

The religion of the 1950s is not coming back either.  Even back then, it had been going steadily downhill in influence for centuries.  Christian religion requires faith in abstractions that is difficult to maintain in a world where information on every subject is abundant.  From now on, Christianity will only be useful as a value system for the prole classes, never again as the ruling ideology of a society with mass modern communications.
From now on, spiritual feeling will revolve around symbols and symbolic people that make abstract social concepts tangible.  We are seeing already a return to idolatry.  As people once imagined earthly human hierarchies in heaven and hell, they will return to a more primitive mindset of regarding earthly human hierarchies as heavenly.  Many only somewhat ironically refer to President Trump as God-Emperor.  They all know he is just a man, but they associate the idea of God-Emperor with the social and political forces he represents, just as Zeus represents lightning storms and leadership of his pantheon, or Hades stands for the land of the dead and riches mined from the earth.  
It may seem absurd at first but for human minds that cannot rightly grasp the magnitude of a million people any more than the size of a galaxy, godhood is the best concept to describe those humans whose barest whims affect the lives of millions.
The primary purpose of spirituality will not be to legitimize a moral philosophy but as in the days of cavemen to usefully describe the ethereal social sphere through concrete metaphor.

The economy of the 1950s is not coming back either.  Trump will be doing the right thing by at least removing policies that make the problem even worse and buy us some time, but no one can change the underlying forces. Human labor will be ever less in demand as world economic growth becomes static.  The seemingly endless easy gains of the industrial revolution are coming to an end and we have been entering a sort of new dark age.
I have a saying “diversity is easy in times of plenty” because once you have a pie that’s either static or actually shrinking the need to survive combined with the extreme competitive pressures in a free sexual market reduces the whole world into two categories.
-People who increase your chances of securing scarce resources and social status.
-Everybody else.

The forces in play are pushing humanity back towards tight tribal associations.  We now see widening fault lines along ethnicity and class and that will continue—but ultimately determining allegiances will be complicated.  Especially as it becomes more permissible to analyze humans by intelligence and temperament just as if they were breeds of dogs, so will humans divide up by neurotype and form the basis of the tribe-state.

The basis of sovereignty will no longer be primarily by geographical territory, but by the existence of a group, the culture it shares, the wealth it controls, the political power it wields.  In any given state or city in the West there are representatives of every type of person we can imagine.  Secession as we once would have imagined it is impossible.  What we will end up with is nation-tribes doing business, making treaties, and when that fails making war, as often by buying up real estate and businesses or setting the doctrine in schools as by outright violence.

Right now, Trump is among the first generation of leaders of the Neo-Tribal dark ages.  He rose to power on class and ethnic loyalties with a persona of stripped of pleasantries appropriate to the norms of our more barbaric times.  He gives us a template of what leaders will look like from now on.  In a dark age, people believe leaders should have the biggest winning rather than the finest principles.  So from now on the people in charge will be aggressive, generous desert sheikhs flaunting the money and harems everyone else admires.  The most honorable man will be he who has many children, has slain many men in battle, and delivered bounties of plunder to his followers.  With the old social contract shredded to pieces the people will have no more patience for staid married family men who are frightened of saying anything mean.

The tears and screaming of Hillary supporters is not irrational.  They sense in their guts, correctly, that their social universe is going through the apocalypse.  The system they have devoted their entire lives to as virtuous cooperator acolytes with all its ritual jumping through credentialist hoops and saying the right things for status is beginning to crumble all around them.  They have massive investment and sunk costs all up in flames.  They do not even know of, cannot even begin to understand anything else.  Learning in one cataclysmic event that history does not always favor “progress” is like a sheltered true believer hearing someone say “God doesn’t exist” for the first time.  It is to face a horrifying void.  Against every doctrine they were ever taught once-invincible civilization is actually regressing.

We return to primitive norms because only the extreme pressures of civilization ever made us otherwise.  This is why civilizations always change overnight the moment people have enough wealth to have any alternative whatsoever.  Civilizations persist by keeping people secure enough but at bare subsistence enough that they cannot dream too far and therein lies its fatal weakness when confronted with the slightest taste of prosperity.  The real change this time, though, is the access individuals have to information—far more agile and orders of magnitude beyond what even the printing press could offer.  Societies both primitive and civilized require most people to be ignorant so they can be indoctrinated into irrational beliefs that hurt the individual while benefiting the whole.  The result of millions empowered to advocate in their own interests is a recipe for upheaval, and so we go forward into uncertain territory.

Brexit Reflections

I was taken by surprise last night to learn that the brexit referendum passed.
It makes little sense to me that the UK would quit the EU when they can get what they want while still enjoying membership benefits.

If immigration is what concerns them most, land-locked countries like Hungary with much less influence have been successful in enforcing their own rules while remaining in the EU.  How much easier would it be for the island UK, a major world economy with huge clout to do the same and get away with it.  Whether it’s keeping out/deporting Pakistanis and Poles or avoiding bailing out broke Greeks, the national government can do what it needs to and the rest of Europe can react as it will.  That’s pretty much what Viktor Orban has done in Hungary.
The “bureaucrats in Brussels” so often derided as international tyrants can’t make Britain do anything it doesn’t want to, except threaten them with what they just did to themselves.

That’s what I don’t get.  If the underlying problem is British national leaders failing to act, then quitting the EU will just make things worse and not solve any of their problems.
If this goes through, England will lose Scotland and maybe have new conflict in Northern Ireland. The English will have to renegotiate trade deals across the planet with far less leverage than they had before. I don’t see how anyone, rich or poor gains from this.
This is a huge mistake especially when much smarter strategies were available.
Hopefully they have a revote or it gets hung up in parliament.

I sympathize very much with the people in the UK voting ‘leave’ since they are reacting to so many problems that are tiresomely familiar in the US. I know how it feels to compete for jobs against foreigners who depress wages and who are allowed to hire preferentially while people of my ethnicity are not. The injustice of being sold out by the elites of your own people is infuriating. But I suspect the British public is falling for a scam by scapegoating a council of paper-pushers in Brussels instead of bending their own leaders to their will. They have much in common with the movement growing around Trump and Sanders style populism in the USA, but I don’t see a pragmatic guy like Trump making stupid self-destructive trade moves that defy common sense just to spite “the globalists.”
That said, I hope this serves as a warning to the EU, especially Germany that it has to change its policies if it wants other nations to cooperate. The Germans are the dominant economic power in Europe but they have overplayed their hand nevertheless. I am hoping this will lead to the downfall of Merkel’s equalist enlightenment school of politics and to the emergence of a “Europe first” mentality.
If Germany and Brussels bureaucrats do not change their ways, they may lose the EU and once these kinds of things fall apart, they cannot easily be put back together.
If this situation spirals out of control, with other nations following Britain’s lead, we need only fast forward a few decades to see the re-emergence of wars between European powers.

Neo-Tribal Mercantilism

Territory on a map, while important, always has been an incomplete indication of actual power.  Many a sprawling country is composed of mostly mountains and desert.  Land is in the crudest sense just a box of earth and air to contain the real source of a group’s power and identity—its people.  After the emergence of rapid transportation and mass communications during the 20th century, geography no longer means what it used to. We no longer spend our whole lives in a single farming village, immersed in a strong communal culture by default.  No one place is inhabited by just one group.  Even Utah, the holy land of a world religion isn’t even composed of 2/3rds of the faithful it is meant for.  Representatives of every people are found nearly everywhere. We might live in several different cities in a single decade going wherever there are jobs.  The capability of movement invites us to play a lifelong game of arbitrage, going wherever we can get the best deal.  As such, political secession based on geographical affiliation is an obsolete idea.  Lines on maps matter less than the invisible lines between class and breed.  The nebulous things we now call “subcultures” begin to coalesce into something more concrete.  The future leads to neo-tribes that rely on no particular place for identity.  The idea of secession will come to mean cultural and economic separation rather than political and geographical.

In less than a century we have transitioned from being farmers to semi-nomads who drift from place to place with no ties to physical territory or traditional cultures that come from peoples who spent centuries in one place.
Scattered nomads must compete for scarce resources but we aren’t yet allowed to fight directly. There’s still a strong state that maintains a strict monopoly on violence, its functionaries oblivious to fundamental changes.  Under a seemingly placid surface of law and order, emerging factions endlessly trade passive aggressive barbs.
When neither war, nor control of land, or even elections decides conflict between groups, conquest and pillage is wrought through the quieter means of economics.  Commerce becomes war by other means.  Instead of launching invasions, colonies are established by dominating real estate and desirable job markets.  From this struggle to control wealth we see the rise of neo-tribal societies from the ruins of monolithic 19th century nationalism.  Everyone who captures wealth is no longer just a free agent, they become steadily more aware that they are soldiers on the battlefield and every gain they make is also a gain for those most like them.
When we pick up a penny on the sidewalk, we capture a unit of wealth.  If we imagine wealth as territory, the Empire of You has expanded by an amount of value worth 1 cent.  Money can be created any time, out of almost anything, and is just a means of exchange, but whether tender is backed or fiat it represents control over forms of wealth constrained by scarcity.  You have that much more force to bring to bear in pushing the world towards your vision.  Whatever group or culture you are part of also gains by that same amount. This increase in strength represents a loss for your enemies.   For you and your tribe every penny is a tiny piece of ground captured after a charge across noman’s land under machine gun fire and artillery.  Wealth is dear because every scrap of it represents victory against all the opposition in the universe—the pitiless impersonal forces of nature and one’s fellow man.

A Fair Caste System

A caste system can only be just if most people perceive themselves as having a fair chance to find their rightful place in the social order.
In our current system, someone very bright and capable may simply come from a poor neighborhood and easily fall in between the cracks.  In many ways, “free” Western societies already have rigid arbitrary caste by birth but those in polite society and credulous schlubs who want to “get ahead” just make believe that it doesn’t exist and call the dividing rifts visible at once on any color-coded city map by any other name.
Westerners can play this game of make-believe simply because there are “soft” forms of enforcement rather than formalized prescriptions enshrined in law but the reality is the same.

I’ll begin with an example of one thing the present society gets right:  Public libraries in every neighborhood.  Anyone who’s curious has access to information.  Book stacks are a bit out of date, but I notice most libraries are reducing their collections and making room for computers. This is a move in the right direction. It should be obvious in the 21st century that free public access to the internet is essential to any society at all that wants to consider itself fair.
And of course lending of e-books helps untie public libraries even from physical location and the limitations of space.

There are some things that would have to change with public libraries/internet access. Disruptive people just looking for someplace warm, with no interest in knowledge do not belong there and would have to be thrown out, though someone clearly engaged might be allowed to spend the night. An upside of a lack of equalism is there would be a clear sense the venue exists in service of its proper patrons. Public computers perhaps ought to be in cozy booths so people could browse with a comfortable sense of privacy for long periods of time.
The book collections would need to be reworked. As they are now, public libraries are loaded mostly with popular fiction and light self-help books. A correct sort of public library would have a clearer mission: to provide everyone the same opportunities to access valuable information. These public libraries would not exist first to cater to the popular taste, but to give a route upward to those of potential in every neighborhood.
This would mean an emphasis on skills and disciplines, critical thinking, history, and philosophy. I remember distinctly how in my life the public library would never even have a single book on computer programming. Perhaps libraries gave up having books that were valuable and therefore got stolen!
Also these kinds of valuable books remain closely guarded by monopolies and tend to be strategically overpriced for students.

Reviving a common institution in the ancient world, public baths in every town could contribute to social fairness.
Once I was an adult taking care of myself, it was obvious rent was the expense that dwarfed all others. I immediately thought of reasons why an apartment was necessary. The first that came to mind was being able to take showers. It’s impossible to find and keep a job to get money without personal hygiene. That stood out as one of the top ways people can be forced into paying rent. It occurred to me that there are truck stops and swimming pool and healthclub memberships but this is a very limited infrastructure for something that should be available to everyone.
Public baths would make it so even people living out of their cars could stay clean and provide a place where people from all the castes to socialize in a relaxed atmosphere and establish a sense of social unity. It would be a blow to the power of rent-seekers.

Another institution would be to set aside abundant public land in key locations for tent occupancy or even makeshift houses rented at a pittance. Also important would be free/cheap long term parking spaces for cars and RVs. Only people of good character and social standing would be granted permits to use these resources. These would not be allowed to become free zones of underclass misery. The main purpose would be to create a safety valve for decent people and an indirect price control on rents. I suppose wages would adjust to rents but that would be fine if it meant more of society’s effort went into productive activity. Most important I think, would be to establish the principle that being without money isn’t effectively a crime like it is now, at least for people with a basic level of conscientousness. For it to work, those who would trash the commons have to be shown their place.

A caste system is going to be most stable if the state makes an honest effort to sustain its people. Possibly guaranteed minimum income for people who are a decent risk for society to invest in. For lower class people who probably are stable where they’re at, perhaps guaranteed minimum food at least.
This society already has EBT cards but does it all wrong. Those who come to the state for food don’t decide what they get to eat, they take what they are given. It sends all the wrong messages when people with foodstamps can load their grocery carts with freezer food and snack cakes. There would be no wasting public money on luxury junk foods. In a smarter system they might get 50 lb. bags of rice, potatoes, or flour with some rations of fresh food and meat as decided on by the system. Whatever most cheaply keeps people healthy who are only going to produce a minimal return on investment.

Then there is the problem of those who are very likely to always be a net drain on society. Our current caste system imprisons a few million, the bottom 1% or so of defectors at enormous expense.
A fair caste system would strive to invest as little as possible in disruptive people and direct that wealth into good investments. Imagine if the money to care for a prisoner for a year was instead used to pay for education for a bright and promising young cooperator. It undermines the social order when an inmate lives a lifestyle that costs 50,000 dollars a year while many hard-working people on the outside live far more meagerly. For the masses to be content with lower to mid-caste, they have to feel they are granted a certain status and level of social investment just by virtue of being cooperators. It must be clear to everyone that even the smallest contributor lives in a category far above criminal defectors who drain society’s precious wealth.

I could imagine “reservations” instead of expensive prisons. The prison population is already a small country. They could really be given their own country. This would require substantial land, perhaps islands, but it would be a zone totally free of public investment and thereby prevent destructive people from becoming a perpetual drain on everyone else. Those who would destroy the public wealth would be set free to create wealth for themselves if they can and if their regions were nasty hellholes, it would be the natual justice after a fashion. In our existing system, city areas allowed to become ghettoes already informally serve a function kind of like this.
Of course, we could keep this more simple and do what many other nations do, encourage unwanted people to simply move to someone else’s country. Hapless egalitarian Western democracies, for example, serve as a worldwide dumping ground for other countries’ criminals and underclass when they could have just sat back and benefited from brain drain while keeping poor investments out.
Finally, in a crowded world with scarce resources there’s the simple fact that there is a time for the very simple solution of executions to make a clear and unequivocal statement to the masses that some behaviors will not be tolerated.

The problem with enlightenment social philosophy is that human social life isn’t just a game of high ideas. Human lives aren’t of unlimited value, most of us have to produce more than we consume or else we die. In real life, societies are like competing organisms in nature or like businesses in the marketplace. Groups that can capture wealth and then use it wisely are those that come out on top. Those that can’t get conquered or wiped out. So an effective society must embrace these realities. A fair caste system means life is very harsh, and possibly very short for those who try to destroy but on the flip side cooperators get to enjoy many nice things they can never have in a low-trust system that treats everyone the same.

Competition Between Societies: Desert Plants vs. Garden Plants

Every living thing strives to make the best of available resources. Trees grow in fractal patterns to maximize the amount of sunlight they can capture. Competing groups of humans are no different. The society that can arrange its branches to best capture energy and use that energy the most efficiently will tend to displace its neighbors. The superior structure triumphs without even trying.

When we look at societies all over the world there’s nearly only one question that matters: how well can they preserve wealth? Those that are effective at it thrive and tend to dominate weaker groups. Those that cannot preserve wealth wallow in such vicious poverty that even conquest by a richer group can be a mercy.
The ability to preserve wealth decides a group’s rank in virtually every form of achievement, from literary excellence to scientific discoveries.
Some groups just have it and others don’t.
Drive out some Jews, Armenians, Maronites, or Alawis in fiery pogroms, kill them off in droves, it doesn’t matter. They successfully preserve wealth wherever they go and quickly make up any damage they suffer. Keeping them down is like trying to keep an inflated balloon underwater.
But wherever subsaharan Africans are found, without exception they are unable to preserve wealth. Even in the best of times, all the wealth of the world slips through their grasping fingers. The justifications and reasons are many, there are among them many good individuals, but in aggregate the same pattern always emerges.

We’re faced with a riddle when Mexicans who are far less effective at controlling wealth than full-blooded Europeans seem to have the superior group structure. Mexicans make less money on paper but they use wealth far more effectively. So we see a Mexican man who works as a roofer and his wife who works as a maid manage to support 3 kids while a white family that’s twice as wealthy struggles to support even one child.
The Mexicans are a more efficient and effective organism. As an invasive species they easily outcompete and replace a slow and weak native strain. So while whites are far better at getting wealth, they’re unable to preserve wealth.

The problem with rich European majority countries is despite all their wealth, it just raises the bar people have to reach to be considered members of society. Social expectations cancel out many of the benefits of wealth. It’s an example of what I’ve called ‘collective checkmate‘, a situation where popular pressure forces competition that hurts everyone.
I’ve also written about what I call social participation tax. In a wealthy country, it’s not socially acceptable to wear clothes you’ve made at home or to patch up worn out clothes. You’re ostracized unless you buy them at JC Penney. You can’t just build a log cabin or live in a yurt. To be a member of society, you have to buy a house or rent an apartment.
Add in the loss of social cohesion and family, atomized whites can save up hundreds of thousands of dollars and not be able to accomplish what Latinos with real extended families can get done with 10k dollars. There’s no contest.
It’s a case of lean and efficient desert plants used to making do with the bare minimum outcompeting garden plants that require rich fertilizer and daily watering just to survive.

Mexicans can preserve wealth, but can’t get that much of it.
Whites can get wealth, but can’t preserve much of it.
Then there are the elite groups like Jews, Parsees, Brahmins, Armenians, and Maronites that can both get substantial wealth and preserve it.
We end up with a rough hierarchy of the peoples according to their effectiveness.
The ideal to strive for then is a group organism with the commanding robustness and complexity of a tree with the efficiency of a desert cactus.

Money Should Only Belong to Cooperators

Every dollar is a vote—so it is of supreme importance to make sure these votes are given into the right hands.  Someone of low character with millions of dollars can cause great damage to society just by influencing the market with their preferences.  Imagine a political election where ambitious psychopaths get super-ballots worth 10,000 normal votes.  It sounds bizarre if we think in terms of elections for political office, yet this is how the economy works and most of us are okay with it.
We approve of parasitic financiers hoarding away millions or even billions of dollars.  So long as someone “earns” their wealth, we don’t care if they’re being awarded in proportion to the value they contribute or even if they intend to use the group’s very lifeblood to defect.  In a system of economic nihilism, where economies are left to drift without guiding purpose, nothing matters so long as you get money while managing to stay out of a jail cell.

If the economy gives great rewards to people who contribute relatively little value, we can envision the heart sending the best of its blood supply to the appendix, or in the case of someone who harms society, to a tumor or tapeworm.  We see this circulatory system acts against the interests of its own body.  It’s a violation of natural law that strikes us as repulsive and wrong in living things, but most of us are unable to make the abstract leap from what we understand viscerally.
That is how the lower castes have always been subjugated, not primarily through force, but through their inability to extend principles.  Under the influence of economic nihilism even those capable of deeper reflection have forgotten that the distribution of society’s influence points is one of the most important and sacred tasks, vital to the success and continuance of a people.

We are told, for instance, that the job market is about giving jobs to the most competent and hardest working.  In practice, this really only applies to the most skilled and important work.  The vast majority of work can be done somewhat competently by most people with a bit of training.  So in practice, jobs are foremost billets we use to support members of society.  The act of hiring someone isn’t “just business,” it gives someone a sacred mandate to exist in society and benefit from its fruits.  Even with low pay, a worker is given money that will supply at least some of the necessities of food and shelter by permission of the many.  If we buy a sack of potatoes rather than stealing it or growing it for ourselves, we do so by accumulating enough dollar votes, each of which is a material token of the collective will.  What could be more amazing than a piece of such abstraction made into a solid thing?
To pay someone well carries even greater meaning.  It allows a person not just to survive but to have surplus needed for offspring and the leisure and buying power required to exert influence on society.  This is to plant the seeds of a garden, to elect someone who will form the character of society for generations to come.  Yet we ask only if they can do the job the best, not whether they are deserving of the distinction of holding society’s precious wealth or whether they will handle that responsibility well.
More important than doing the job as well as possible is to be a cooperator with the group’s mission.
This is why the owner of a small business hires a friend even if the world is full of people who may be better qualified.  The owner trusts his friend and his wealth goes to an ally rather than a stranger.
This is why in the long run a nation that prides itself on “work ethic” over allegiance loses to tribes that put allegiance first. Thus, the nation-state model that’s gone global since the 1860s is now challenged by the tribe-state.
A small tribe doesn’t have a “job market” with little worker atoms floating around. It has slots with roles that need to be filled and those slots are given to the best and most loyal. The choice of who is appointed to those posts and how many influence points they’re given decides success or disaster. Who we hire selects our tribe.
Conversely, there is a clear duty to deny influence points to those who will hurt the group and to hunt down those who abuse the points system.

Market Demand Must Be Regulated

Society values pro basketball players who provide entertainment far more than trash collectors who perform a vital service. We may need garbage collectors more than professional athletes, but it’s easy to find people who can pick up trash, while elite athletes are scarce by definition.  In this case market supply and demand is a distortion of actual value.  We are ok with athletes being paid millions of dollars to play a game because we suppose demand is sacrosanct, almost a godly force we dare not question.  After all, we get paid what we’re worth, right?
Yet it’s illegal to buy cocaine or hire a hitman when there is undoubtedly demand for drugs and contract killing.   Alcohol and liquor sales are heavily taxed to try to curb demand.  Or what about medical treatments?  When a patient is in danger of death, the value of the next treatment is theoretically infinite.  So shouldn’t that next round of chemotherapy always cost everything the patient has left according to pure demand?  The state already can and does regulate demand—it’s not off limits.
So why then do we let a football player or a movie star walk away with millions of dollars when its obvious there’s no way their contribution however important can be that large?  When someone becomes a millionaire by throwing a ball around or playing make-believe on camera, the character and morale of the entire society is undermined.
What is the garbage man to think when society values a single movie star more than him dozens of times over?  His task is so important, society can’t do without him for even a week.  If movie studios were all shut down, it might be unpleasant news but people would get on with life.
So why not put a strict cap on the income of entertainers and their promoters?  They provide services that people want and seem to generally do more good than harm by helping to create a thriving culture, so it would make sense to allow them to earn a good living, but becoming multi-millionaires would be out of the question. Entertainment is wonderful to have but it is a luxury, not a mainstay.

Obviously, a big budget movie gets made and its star actors paid millions because hundreds of millions of people are willing to pay for movie tickets.  So I could see someone arguing that because demand exists, it should be allowed.  But this is not enough.  Otherwise we should also be willing to argue for the legalization of contract killing and robbery.  The pattern I see is that demand is allowed to express itself so long as it does more good than harm to society.  So now we have to decide if it is good for a society to pour billions of dollars of its wealth into a handful of entertainers.  Surely there’s a limit on the worth of entertainment when there’s other things that need to be done.
As individuals, we value recreational time playing video games, watching movies, or blogging.  Yet we have a time and money budget for our own entertainment.  Similarly, a society ought to have a wealth budget for its luxuries.  It may sound restrictive to limit what a pro athlete or day trader makes, yet we already accept sin taxes that curb and punish demand for cigarettes and booze.  Sin taxes already carry the implicit recognition that we are not rational economic agents.  We routinely make bad decisions.  So we’re given a push in the “right” direction by the state.  We can buy that bottle of vodka or pack of cigarettes, but we have to be willing to pay an extra fee that serves as both a disincentive and an indemnity to society.  By the same principle we could cap the price for event and movie tickets or the acceptable budget cities can spend on stadiums to prevent or at least limit the misappropriation of society’s very finite wealth.
It would also be interesting to examine financial “products” and examine which of them return equivalent or greater value to society and which are a net drain or even cause damage.

Limiting the size of luxury industries brings up a big issue though—what about all the people that would lose their jobs in movie studios, stadiums, and concert halls?  We ask this because we lose perspective of the big picture.  We go to work to provide value to others and then get compensated in proportion to our contributions.  Is it a net good to work at a stadium that cost the city’s tax payers billions of dollars to spend billions more on a luxury activity?  If there’s nothing more productive to do with someone, why shouldn’t society just give them a guaranteed minimum income until there’s something more useful to do?  Society comes out way ahead by just skipping the multi-billion dollar excuse to write a paycheck.  No activity at all is far more valuable than useless activity.  Just staying at home with some basic income, there is a small chance they may have the initiative to use their leisure time wisely and genuinely contribute to the good of the group.

We’ve been taught to think in a way that’s a distortion of Keynesian views.  Keynes suggested hiring people to do useless tasks as one way to stimulate a depressed economy.  Naturally, his prescription for emergency situations became the new normal, where making money is a good thing even if we’re building “useless pyramids” or paying people to dig a hole just to fill it in again.  The trouble is this becomes a philosophy of economic nihilism in which human activity is divorced from purpose and meaning.   People just want money and as long as no one is murdered outright, the means don’t matter much.  Strangely, it sounds almost heretical now to suggest that markets and the accumulation of wealth ought to serve a purpose—to benefit the group in which we participate—that money awarded for unproductive or under-productive activity damages the integrity of society.

The survival of human societies in this world is a serious business; against other societies, against the pitiless forces of nature, and never-ending internal pressures.  The elevation of frivolous things to the heights of accomplishment makes a mockery of the social order.  A society where people worship “celebrities” over inventors, leaders, and entrepreneurs has lost its way.  Such is a disaster of mob rule where the masses are allowed to determine who is great and who is low.  When the undeserving get the best rewards, cynicism spreads and loyalty erodes until one day a nimble challenger full of confidence arises and proves more than a match for a mighty opponent crippled by rot.
The market is a form of economic democracy—every purchase is a vote.  We have an electoral college and representatives in political democracy rather than a pure popular vote.  So popular demand on the market must also be subject to controls, to curb and prevent tragedies of the commons.  There already are rules such as monopoly prevention that implicitly acknowledge the market has a mission to fulfill.  It is not there for its own sake.   These principles just have to be extended until the market is re-animated with purpose as a healthy circulatory system.

Markets Exist To Benefit Society

If money is blood, the market is the circulatory system..
I have pointed out before that it’s impossible to have a market without the state, whether it’s run by an emperor or local gangsters. A store without protection is quickly looted.
So it’s up to the state to regulate markets so that they fulfill their mission— to serve as a substitute for small scale systems of status-based exchange.  It’s necessary and right to regulate the market as the market depends on regulators to exist in the first place.
Those who are most important to the survival of society naturally should have the most influence points, while there is a natural duty for society to protect itself from malicious people by denying them influence points. Those with low potential to return value or who are sure to make bad decisions with their influence have to be kept near enough to subsistence that they can’t do much harm.

We’ve established free markets are highly volatile and far from perfect in coinciding with the interests of society.
Even in an American culture that worships the market economy, there are plenty of laws dealing with everything from monopolies to insider trading. The existence of such laws in even the most permissive states is tacit admission of the necessity of state interference. The only question is how much interference there should be.
The market is a tool to further the good of a people, since it is an extension of customs of redistribution that further the good of small tribes, thus the purpose of regulation is to keep the system to its purpose. We suppose it is a good use of a hammer to drive in a nail and a bad use to shatter someone’s kneecaps. We can suppose a good use of a market is to make a people strong and a bad use to weaken everyone to enrich a few parasites and entertainers.  Used well, the market allows a group to get rich and outcompete less wealthy groups. Used poorly, it allows an entire society to destroy itself.
The trouble with a system of “free market” capitalism is the implicit belief that the market exists for its own sake, not to serve the best interests of the social body in which it is but an organ.   We should do as well to conclude that our own bodies exist for the good of the heart and arteries.  So if the brain, liver, or muscles were to suffer a blood shortage it is the will of the almighty drop of blood and evil for the brain to regulate the heart to more evenly distribute the blood supply throughout its organs.  Or if there were parasites in the blood, to conclude the veins “know” what’s best and to restrain the immune system because the parasites “earned” their place.
Isn’t it odd that when we examine more closely, the very idea of a “free market” sounds like a scam?

What Money Rewards, We Get More Of

In a tribe, status is determined by individual deeds and attributes.  Let’s imagine a tribe where the best hunter gets the best cuts of meat, the best women, the best of everything.  He enjoys the rewards of being the most effective at helping his society survive. The social order is kept strong.
In a nation of anonymous millions we require money as an abstract standin for tribal status and reputation.  It’s how we organize in economic groups far larger than our monkey instincts can handle.  If I walk into walmart and grab a bunch of bananas, there’s no way the cashier can know if letting me walk out of the store is a net benefit to society or if I have social value and credibility greater than the value of the bananas.  So we all default to money.
Money is a good behavior points system.  In 1st grade there were gold stars, as adults, there’s dollars.   Money measures how valuable we are to society.  How many dollars you have is how much every other holder of dollars wants you around.  If you can’t be valued enough in money points to survive, you’re effectively “voted off the island.”  Ideally, it’s equivalent to being exiled from a small tribe because you hurt the group or just didn’t contribute enough.  Because money is an abstract construct in place of the real thing, it is in practice naturally vulnerable to abuse.

If I can steal a dollar from someone and get away with it, society values me a dollar more for my ability to do it.  If I could get away with selling illegal drugs or human organs, I would be making big money enjoying society’s best luxuries while actually hurting the abstract mass tribe.  It would be the equivalent of a small tribe richly rewarding a traitor.
Or imagine someone who gets the best rewards merely by gaming the money system within the letter of the law.  Maybe he just shuffles around securities producing no value for others. Maybe he buys up drug patents and charges hundreds of dollars per pill to desperate dying patients. Or spends 4 decades grinding in a cubicle. It doesn’t matter how he gets money so long as gets it.  In a small tribe he’d be like a guy who just pretends to work all day yet gets the best rewards!  Worse, each dollar gives the traitor or  the scammer more gravitational pull, more votes over what shape society is to take.  Once the defector-parasites are powerful enough to reprogram society’s immune system in their own interests everything good is finally drained and used up.

Worst of all, seeing defectors rewarded destroys group morale.  Why work hard to do things the right way, when parasites get ahead?  When people see the unproductive are most successful they eventually will want to join them.  A society that rewards unproductive or harmful people doesn’t deserve anyone’s dedication or loyalty anyway.  Once athletes, entertainers, and financiers are in the top levels of the hierarchy, that society has lost its mandate of heaven.   In a small tribe where a traitor was rewarded best everyone would eventually become traitors.

 

Money Only Belongs To Its Masters

Holding a currency is like holding the one ring.  It still belongs to, and exerts the power of its master over you.
Hold the master’s money, the master exacts a price.  For the money is a piece of the master.
As children money seemed like a magic resource because our parents paid the bills.  As adults, money is always given us in the understanding most of it will be immediately returned in the form of rent and taxes.  A worker that lives from paycheck to paycheck lives as a slave in the sense their labor is effectively unpaid.  Only surplus is income.  Someone who earns less than they need to live is effectively lesser off than even a slave provided the basics.

The master protects the monopoly of its money jealously.  It’s no mistake that the same body that protects the lives of the leaders also protects the monopoly of its currency.
It is hard to challenge the master for power over its own ring.  It is just as hard to make one’s own ring of power.
To worship the money is to worship the master.

How convenient to shear the flock when everyone grows the same standardized wool.  Imagine the master having to send collectors to seize actual physical assets!  Would most people anymore even have physical tribute worth seizing?  It’s a lot easier when they can just sit back and watch electronic units of wealth rush to their waiting hands.  It was never easier to be king.
We are like a whole world full of Gollums obsessed with the power of the One Ring even as its master dominates and consumes us.

Abstract Reasoning is What Makes Us Human

In movies, the good guys are always emotional acting “from their hearts” while the bad guy lives in his mind creating elaborate plans usually losing in the end because of some variation of “he doesn’t understand the power of love.” In the philosophy of movies, emotion and love is what makes us human.
In real life, the capability of abstract reasoning is what sets apart higher from lower humans and humans from other animals. The person who can ponder the root causes of poverty is more effective than someone who from blind compassion for a picture of a starving kid in a magazine donates to charity and helps pay the “non-profit” CEO’s salary.  The price of not having abstract understanding is to be parasitized and preyed upon.

Humans have moved towards abstract concepts for a long time and some breeds are more advanced than others.
Language itself is a system of symbolic abstractions and is part of the human species as swimming is to fish or burrowing to a mole.
But since civilization, levels of abstraction have gone far beyond what most humans are able to handle.
Consider the concept of interest on a loan, for instance.  A considerable percentage of humans max out their credit cards or mortgages and are then taken by surprise when the compound interest spins out of control.  Or let’s look at estimating probability, something people are really bad at.  In a society of rational humans the only gambling would be against other players, never with unfavorable odds against the house.
The difference is who can understand abstractions and who cannot.
In general, peoples who have lived in complex civilizations longer are better at it.  It comes as little surprise that Jews, Syrian Alawis and Christians, Lebanese Maronites, and Armenians do well wherever in the world they go.  They are all mercantile peoples who spent thousands of years living on top of some of the world’s major trade routes.
Meanwhile, peoples new to the abstractions of civilization struggle to deal with laws, commerce, and the concept of the state.  Unable to formulate long term plans and heavily selected for binging in times of plenty, they become impoverished and hopelessly addicted to drugs and junk food.  Whether we’re talking about the Pima, the Pygmies, the Samoans, the Sioux, or the Aborigines, the problems are always the same, the only variation is degree.

Plato grouped humans into three categories.

Bronze – Ordinary workers and merchants engaged in their work with little awareness beyond their own wants. In Enlightenment philosophy, whether by communism, capitalism, or even libertarianism and anarchism, these people are supposed to be the rulers. That’s why these ideas when unalloyed by common sense never work. Mob rule, tragedies of the commons predictably result.

Silver – Those with enough awareness to be granted some measure of power without selfishly abusing it.  They have enough foresight to understand at least part of the big picture and some ability to think of the longer term within the context of their role. They are the middle management of society, the officers of humanity. They don’t take bribes(they can understand how it damages the credibility of the entire system), they keep utilities cheap and reliable, the trains arrive on time.  They make sure things work.

Gold- Those with enough awareness to understand the complexities of the macroscale and reason beyond oneself.  Those who can best do this are those who should be managing societies.

To care about anything that occurs after one’s death, for example, is irrational in the most literal sense. A bronze-soul squeezes the world for all it’s worth as long as they’re alive. What should it matter if the nation were to fall after they’re buried, or the entire human race to meet its demise?
The difference between a higher man and the stampede is to grasp the highly abstract idea of a future beyond oneself in the endurance of one’s work, deeds, ideas, and seed—to perceive beauty in what we will never see, touch, or taste for it’s own sake.
There’s a Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Taking delight in what has not yet happened is pure abstraction, but for those capable of it, it is as real as any present and tangible pleasure. As real as are imaginary numbers and infinity to a mathematician.

People are only equipped so far by nature to deal with groups of up to 150.  Abstraction is the only way for limited human beings to work around the limit set by the Dunbar number and be able to reason out the workings of a mass society of millions of people.
A lower human given charge of a nation handles millions of people with the package of instincts appropriate to a small tribe.
What is a great famine that kills millions so long as you, your family, friends, and closest followers are safe?
It makes no sense to care about people we don’t know so long as it doesn’t affect us. It very much makes sense to sacrifice a million strangers we don’t care about in a war to get what we want. Why not abuse and neglect as it pleases us? They’re all just a statistic. To perceive beyond this, a human must use abstraction and imagination.

Ironically, the lower human ruler also projects his warm instinctual feelings for a small group onto many and preserves a million who are destroying everyone else out of crass sentimentality.
The higher being sees a rook is not worth a pawn and does what must be done.
Where the lower man is ruthless, the higher is merciful
And where the lower is generous, the higher crushes.

The gold soul has the same animal instincts as the bronze but it has the quality of consciousness that allows it to reflect on its nature while the bronze just follows its program like any other animal.
The high human can reflect on its own instinctual drives, figure out the purpose of each, and reason the best course to realize the “intended” goal.
The drive to socialize and observe social norms is there to further our survival in a group and to aid the survival of the group itself against other groups.
So if in charge of millions, we ought to use intellect to further the group as an appropriate instinct would, if it existed.
The drive to breed is there to spread our genes.
So we ought to understand that instinctual gratification with contraceptives is an illusion.
Where instinct is not enough, the greater human formulates strategies.
Faced with relentless change, human animals flounder in aimless despair like pandas with their bamboo forests burnt down.
High Humans change their survival strategy with the times.

Crowdsourcing, A Modern Patronage System?

Last post, I discussed the difference in creative output between an older system of patronage and a modern system governed by the mass market.  Older societies could turn out brilliant creative work with far fewer resources and people because a limited number of people called the shots. What’s for everyone is for no one.

A creative work that’s commissioned serves the vision of a patron, a work exposed to the forces of the mass market merely tries to please the most and offend the fewest becoming a grotesque Tower of Babel.
The internet has enabled a phenomenon known as crowdsourcing, a process by which an idea gets funding from just the people who want it.
This process has the potential to create a modern sort of patronage.  The idea that gets created exists to serve a limited group rather than the entire aggregate mass of humanity.

I have found an inspiring example in a youtube channel called The Great War.  The founder, Indie Neidell covers each week of WW1 as it was happening 100 years ago with lots of special episodes in between.
The show is filmed in a studio with a production crew and gets its funding from a crowdsourcing site called Patreon.
With a fraction the funding of a third rate History Channel special, they have done more than the History Channel could ever have aspired to.  The Great War now has many hours of runtime, hosts active discussion on its videos and reddit, and caters only to those who pay for it.  So if enough viewers want an episode about Bulgaria in WW1 or French WW1 Uniforms the episode appears.
Even as a kid, I referred to the History Channel as “The Lost Secrets of WWII Channel”  or the “The Lost Secrets of Nazi Superweapons Channel.”  And this was years before they descended into airing little more than reality shows.
Shackled by the tyrannical mass market, the History Channel was slave to the few events and passions that register on the popular consciousness.  They can cover a comic book WW2 endlessly, maybe get away with the American Civil War every once in awhile.  Other than that, conspiracy theories about Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, the Knights Templar, and lost tribes of Israel sell far better.  They no doubt have millions of dollars to spend, but by comparison to The Great War, they’re a joke.  We can see how commissioned creative work can be orders of magnitude more efficient with results that can be exponentially better.  This gives us a glimpse into how relatively impoverished societies of the past did as well as they did.

While big individual patrons like the Medicis or Carnegie remain in the past, the internet is enabling people who want the same things to get together and create sheltered markets protected from the insipid Many.
Without this protection, people who want a show about Lettow-Vorbeck’s brilliant campaign in German East Africa in WW1 have nowhere to turn, for they are a drop in a great ocean, swallowed up unless they find a way to escape.
Furthermore, The Great War shows us how crowdsource patrons can form a community around the work they sponsor.  Those who watch enough episodes see how repeat commenters gain a reputation and begin to notice the recurring in-jokes.  It’s an environment where participants feel a sense of ownership and belonging, at least far more than most of us can feel towards impersonal modern institutions.  I could see these sorts of affiliations among the possible catalysts for cultural secession and the creation of new tribes within obsolete nation-states.

Every Purchase Is A Vote

Whenever we walk into a store we can measure how much we’re like everyone else.  Imagine a planet where everyone was you.  What then would the inside of the store look like?  All the things you like would be available in abundance, their prices driven down by economy of scale.  How close then is the existing store to the theoretical ideal that serves you best?  We can’t expect everyone to be the same in real life; without the purchases of many different people, there could be no store.  So we must be willing to sacrifice some of our individual preferences to have a market.
The influence of our own vote though is tiny so we must have some significant overlap with other people for the offerings of the store to yield us benefits.  If most customers don’t want some of the same things we want, the store is useless to us.  A man, for instance, will likely never have any need for women’s clothing stores because he lacks overlap with the targeted electorate.
Imagine for a moment the store we’ve walked into is a grocery store.  The initial overlap in needs is very high.  Everyone gets hungry, so we have a great test case.  When we look at the store shelves, we see a purer sort of democracy than has ever existed in politics.  What’s for sale is what everybody wants.
What if most people want junk food though?  The grocery store will have lots of cheap junk food and the substantial food will be scarcer and higher in price.  Perhaps it just points to the reason why there never has been a true political democracy.  The masses might well make terrible decisions.  A people cannot survive leadership without some semblance of order and quality control.  But they can survive the consequences of eating too much cookie dough ice cream, at least in the short term.

We can draw a similar analogy with book stores.  We want to read, but the store is of no value to us if the only books available are sensational slush.  In this case, the mass of other people out there has proven to be a liability to our interests because of their lack of overlap concerning the details of an item we want.  And our paltry votes don’t even make a dent.

Let us look at the bestseller lists for books too, and the top 25 in music.  Or how about the most popular television shows and movies?  In a decently ok world, most items on these lists should be among the best, right?  But what if to our horror, we consistently see works of low quality, or insipid mediocrity exalted by the collective?
If you don’t like what most people like, you are in a way living in a zombie apocalypse, surrounded by shambling throngs of people whose tastes and interests run contrary to your own in every way imaginable.  Your voice is drowned out while everyone rushes to the theaters to see the next remake of a remake.

If you or I were to conclude our nature and preferences have remarkably little overlap with most other people out there, it does not make sense to make the sacrifices required to participate in their collective pools.  Banding with the masses proves more a liability than a benefit.  It makes far more sense to find those with a higher degree of overlap even if they’re just a few and pooling one’s demand with them instead, while isolating oneself from the slavering zombie hordes.

It is on this basis of collective compatibility that would underlie a modern caste system.  In the case of economics, each cluster of preferences would occupy separate markets from food, to clothing, and entertainment.  Perhaps such distinctions already exist informally, but it takes considerable knowledge, deep affiliations, and especially sheer wealth to sort out what belongs to one’s proper sphere.
In a more formalized order, each strata has no need to waste energy on self discovery, they naturally gravitate towards their proper places and live their whole lives therein, their votes compatible with the other voters of their breed.  With a more stable hierarchy, less struggle takes place and far more gets done.

If we consider grocery stores again.  There already are grocers that cater to different tastes, but they do so mostly through being more expensive.  They decisively segregate their clientele using high prices but in so doing produce a form of value signalling rather than pure optimization.
In a correctly stratified caste system, a store ought not to rely first on higher prices as an isolating mechanism but instead be able to focus on being able to provide the best possible value given the votes of the consumers of the higher castes.
We may consider pure status signalling such as paying extra for ‘organic’ produce a penalty that certain voters agree to pay in order to form a barrier.  But if such a barrier is already formalized by the agreement of voters, then there is no need to pay such penalties and all effort can be put into providing the best value possible for the voting coalition.
We can imagine similar principles applied to real estate.  Those who pay high prices to keep undesirables out of their supermarkets apply the same tactics to property ownership and school districts.  Again, the cadre of voters in an unstable hierarchy is forced to pay penalties to segregate themselves into a mutually beneficial electorate.  In a stable caste hierarchy, their neighborhoods and schools are delineated by force of their votes, leaving them free to build value rather than spend most of their wealth insulating themselves against incompatible demographics.
As it is, many people try to isolate themselves from the gales of popular mediocrity by working long hours for decades.  So hard is their task that they barely manage to reproduce, managing only to replace themselves in the best of times.  The most productive creatures effectively barely scrape by at subsistence.
Because their natural habitat is saturated by hostile tribes unless they build cost-prohibitive barriers, they are forced to spend most of their effort just trying to chisel out their desired place, which in a Correct order should be theirs by natural right.

As a final thought experiment, consider how idiotic most advertisements are on television, youtube, and in print.  This is what most people find persuasive or these ads would not exist.  Every advertisement is a glimpse into the heart of the average person.  Don’t like what you see?  Then you are participating in the wrong commercial electorate.
How would advertising change then if we dominated the commercial electorate?  Would it even exist in the same form?

See Also:  Shelters From Planned Obsolescence,
Friction of Association and Social Selectivity

Civilization is Human Domestication

Human civilization is a fancy word for a survival strategy in which people get to together in hives and crush peoples living in smaller hives.
In the course of adopting such a strategy, we are no longer heavily selected for our abilities to survive as individuals but for those traits that allow us to thrive in groups.  We become more dependent on the communal barn for feed, ever less able to think or act on our own.
When I look at definitions of what fundamentally sets humans apart from animals, the ability to talk is always near the top of the list.  Talking, at its most basic level, though is just an ability that allows groups to coordinate better.  It is a highly sophisticated behavior.  But sophisticated behaviors are commonplace in nature.  How about eels, salmon, and numerous birds that can migrate with extreme precision, or parasitoid jewel wasps that can disable one precise part of a cockroach’s brain with its stinger, or any number of creatures that can make precise, powerful strikes in fractions of a second?  To name a very few…

A perfectly civilized state does not mean a race of enlightened of beings, it means a colony of eusocial insects, highly efficient but without consciousness or agency.
On another extreme we have impotent individuals never associating, easy prey to even the most dissolute enemy groups.

The accomplishments and qualities we associate with the best qualities of humanity, though, are not completely civilized but represent the Aristotelian golden mean between the virtues of individualism and the collective.
Individualists are easy meat for more organized foes.
Eusocial Zerg and Borg are vulnerable to reasonably cohesive groups that retain qualities of creativity and conscious will.

Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan understood something basic about humanity.  Our modern day barbarian trope is of a grunting musclehead, but a Howard-style barbarian while sparing with words is smart and quick.  Conan is a simple man compared to a merchant but he readily perceives that civilization promotes corruption and complacency of the spirit rather than greatness.
In real life, is it any surprise that the things we call the greatest accomplishments of civilization can be only a limited number of generations away from barbarism?

Barbarians in their natural state accomplish nothing.  Perfectly civilized people live in sophisticated stagnation.  But when history chances on a certain Aristotelian golden mean between the two states, we see great accomplishments and conquests.
But on its path to civilized domestication, a people always passes up the golden mean and sinks into a stable state where much remains the same for centuries and the few new ideas are crushed.

The early Mesopotamian peoples, the first to be civilized, lived in a system of highly dynamic city states making innovations for the first 1000 years or so.  They became relatively stagnant in their progress by 1000 BC
The Egyptians followed a similar, perhaps slightly later trajectory.
Then we see Chinese, Indians, and Greeks rise simultaneously to their heights between 400-200 BC, then stagnating ever since.  Today it amazes us that the Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Plato were contemporaries, their world-changing ideas packed into just a couple human generations, coming from human populations that were puny compared to now, with far less wealth and technology.

If we likened innovation to a flame, we must notice it consumes its hosts and moves on to another, always to some barbarian neighbor on the fringes of the old civilization. The price of openness to change is instability.
When the Mediterranean world was thoroughly spent and domesticated, the forces of creativity moved into Northern Europe, and eventually into America, a colony of Northern Europe.  In the past there always seemed someplace new for these forces to move on to but is it so anymore?  Now there are no more new frontiers, the entire world has been explored.  Modern weapons prevent the easy rise of opportunistic conventional barbarian armies.  The same system of finance has spread across the entire planet.  Most of the world speaks a few standardized languages.  Never has humanity been more civilized and centralized.
One might wonder if the world is bound to sink into thousands of years of stagnant slumber.  Perhaps the future could be more like Dune or Star Wars where technology and political systems remain unchanging for thousands of years.
Maybe in 5-600 years the world is colonized and revitalized in the great African enlightenment?
But the same question remains until we progress to some sort of singularity event — who then raises civilization to its next stage when all the races of the world have been spent?

This leads us to wonder: why do civilizations after a certain point cease to innovate?
My guess is that it has to do with the intense competition that comes with any saturated ecosystem.  A relatively new civilization has its frontier period for some generations where everyone is filling a proliferation of new niches.  But once those niches are filled the system ossifies.
Innovation is the product of leisure, not of drudgery.  No one has time to think of something new when they are lost in competition, never more than a half step ahead of a gibbering pack of rivals trying to pull them down and outcompete them. Under these pressures people are forced to increasingly specialize until they no longer have the luxury of seeing more than their immediate field — until the man who is a wrench expert knows nothing of screwdrivers.  When everyone is micro-specialized, the puzzle pieces one must assemble to arrive at an epiphany remain lying scattered about untouched.

I notice rice valley civilizations of India and China, or the wheat floodplains along the Nile were especially densely populated very early in their histories.  Thousands of years of crowded living barely subsisting off their one staple crushes liberty and creativity.  Worse, one despot can easily dominate a river valley and keep millions in thrall with his edicts.  People from these kinds of civilizations are the most domesticated of all, the world’s best specialists, more able to devote themselves tirelessly to one task than any other, but their relentless minds are also the most rigid and unimaginative.
It surprises me little that the one great flash of genius China had since its ancient period of warring states was during the Ming dynasty, after Mongol rule and then the black plague had reduced the population by about 50 million people(about 1/3rd), freeing up the space required to try new things.
Then, for once, China showed significant interest in world exploration and trade launching entire treasure fleets before turning inward again for good.  Maybe slightly more favorable conditions would have resulted in a 15th century Chinese industrial revolution and colonization?  Or perhaps Chinese by that point already civilized for a couple thousand years had already lost too much of that barbarian fire of inspiration.
We see a similar emptying out of Europe in the black plague and turmoil of the 14th century after which European nations began their rise to prominence.
But Northern Europe at that time in contrast to the Chinese was just a few centuries removed from barbarian tribes. Given a push by similar forces, they also turned outwards and began to innovate, but they didn’t stop.
It is also notable that Europe has never been dominated by just a few river flood plains with all human affairs governed by the distribution or withholding of the one staple food source.  It’s a region that has never been politically united, there have always been kingdoms forced to compete against one another, ready to adopt change that might give them an advantage.
Europeans are fairly unique in that they have lived off a variety of grains and supplemented them with dairy products and significant amounts of meat. Across much of the world, dairy is more typical of a staple for nomad pastoralists than for settled people.
It occurs to me that yogurt, butter, and cheese is used from India to the Middle East, but I would think it plays a relatively minor role in the diet outside of traditionally nomadic regions compared to Europeans. An Indian might use ghee or butter for a curry, milk or paneer cheese to make their pistachio and rose water sweets, or load up their chai with heavy cream, but rice remains their overwhelming staple. They have, to my knowledge, no equivalent to Europeans downing entire glasses of milk and eating entire cheeses straight in their civilized core regions.

Northern European nations and colonies now seem they may be going the way of civilized people before them.  Enough generations that reward rule-following, shop-keeping, credential-accumulating, and school-attending more than risk and invention.  Soon enough, the fiery free spirits have been culled whether from the battlefields or the laboratory.  After all, civilization is a system that selects for those sheep who benefit the king, who sit still in one place to be sheared year after year.
The stability that comes with complete domestication is inimical to the qualities we value most, which we suppose are uniquely civilized — when in fact, they result from an ideal balance of qualities.

Historical trends of Chinese population

The Middle Class: Caught In Between

No one likes the middle class.
They’re like a teacher’s pet trying too hard to please the teacher.
Their masters look down on them with amused contempt.  Servile creatures who sell their souls for larger crumbs.
The working class despises their eagerness to sell out everyone else and envies their standard of living.
Confounded, the middle class tries harder to please yet still finds itself caught in the middle surrounded by enemies.
When things start going bad, they make excellent scapegoats while their masters stay in comfort.
The middle class is a buffer state, the first line of defense for people who matter.

Other than being in the middle of the hierarchy, there’s nothing middle about the middle class.  They’ve always been a minority, perhaps less than 20% of the population even in the best of times.  These are the people who’ve left behind the working class lifestyle, but are far as ever from any real power.  The middle class are the low level functionaries who typically rely on the good graces of the rich for their relatively privileged lifestyle. They are owned people like the workers but live under greater supervision with more responsibilities and expectations.
While a prole wanders from one job to the next knowing it will be the same as the last, losing a job for the middle class person can be a major life crisis that threatens to cast him back down into the seething mass of the working class.

The mentality of the middle class is one of anxiety, like that of a rodent or a deer.  They know they’re among the few who’ve managed to get ahead and are terrified of falling from grace.  If they fall, their family falls with them.  They’ve lost the ability to function in the rougher prole society.  Their sheltered helicopter-parented kids are easy targets in a prole school district.  They’re like cops getting sent to prison if they fail.  For them, there’s no going back.
Paul Fussell in his book, Class, had the insight to notice that they like everything to be bland and inoffensive from their food to entertainment.  So complete is their subservience and desire to avoid offense that it controls their lives even when they’re not working.  They try to imitate their superiors by being verbose and using lots of long words that disguise their real meaning, especially if it’s something possibly disagreeable.  Just think of the grey and boring names we associate with corporate jargon.  If a middle class person tells you their job title, it’s not clear what they actually do.

Peasants have revolts, the upper middle class, revolutions. The middle class has no rebellion.  Their fortunes are tied to the ruling order and they fear losing what they have too much to participate in upheaval.  They’ll usually still be fed when most proles are starving so will have even less incentive to betray their masters and join the destitute multitudes.

Like proles, middle classers are devoid of imagination and ideas.  Curiosity is alien to them.  The ideal middle class person needs to have enough brains to acquire skills and be likable to the right people, but any more than that is dangerous to the blind loyalty required of them.
They’re perfectly plain in looks possessing neither intellect or stupidity.  They’re the insipid gruel of humanity lacking in flavor or personality content to work at the same desk for a lifetime.
Proles are passive and impotent but at least they are passionate.
Proles are collectivist, they stick to the ways of their own kind.
The middle classers are conformist, their culture is their failure to imitate their betters.  They have no love for themselves, they care only for fashions handed down from above.

The lack of of identity and stuffiness of middle class culture makes it the first zone of society with potential for unsocialized malcontents to break off in search of meaning and belonging in life.  At present the middle class is shrinking from an all-time high to return to more normal historic levels.  Plenty of middle class children have failed to get the same status as their parents and find themselves alienated.
Middle class people are harmless to rulers as long as they stay that way.  But if too many of them slip towards proledom their better brains and higher initiative can cause some problems as they bring their resentments down with them and begin to inspire popular anger.

Proles Are Inert

We have established that human societies everywhere settle into a stratified equilibrium.  Many other social species have hierarchy.  Amongst humans, there is the hierarchy of natural castes.

Societies thrive or collapse  in proportion that its class system reflects the reality on the ground.  A society fails when mediocre men become rulers and great men are made into poor peasants.
A society stagnates when the best outliers are made to live as exiles and the halls of
power belong to ordinary men.

In the modern west, we think of justice merely as fairness in meting out punishments, but it’s much more than that.  Justice is a person attaining whatever station and reward is justly theirs.
It is sad we mostly understand this in terms of petty criminals being punished.
Rarely, do we reflect that it is just those with prolish values and temperaments are proles, or that those of noble bearing and character ascend the heights.

All across the internet, one finds idealogues who expect enraged masses to rise up and have a revolution any day now to stop “big government.”  Their outrage always turns out to be nonsense of course.
The peasants have always had their champions—champions who nearly always fail and end up dead themselves.  The brothers Gracchi in the days of the Roman Republic are a classic example.  After the two brothers were murdered in succession trying to pass monopoly-busting land laws, further attempts at reform dwindled for some reason.  Despite their far greater numbers, the proles were unable to protect their champions or carry out an agenda themselves.  As usual, they missed opportunities their betters would have seized upon.  The proles have always been inert.

Like most Americans, I was taught the idea of a “common man” enshrined as some kind of God.  But within a few years of going out into the world to fend for myself, I had discovered that the common people are no God, they’re just the mob.

The first universal trait I noticed in their character was passivity.  Everywhere I’ve been, prolish folks endlessly complain about their lot and resent their superiors in life.  But it dawned on me one day—they never do anything about it, nor are they capable of action.
I looked back through history, since my own life is a narrow anecdotal slice, but the pattern of proles is timeless as the tides.
So long as their stomachs are full most of the time, even if they’re subsisting on junk, they grumble amongst themselves, mostly for stress relief, but utterly lack motivation for change until they are truly desperate.  They are constitutionally incapable of framing dissident thoughts of their own volition.  Actually, their defining quality is they lack volition and agency.  If they were not docile and gullible, societies of millions where just a few have all the wealth would  not be possible.  In a way, it is just.  Unable to defend themselves, they assume their proper place as preybeasts.
Across history and location poor peasants have always been proud supporters of the established order while the truly rebellious have always been educated young men who couldn’t quite make it into, or beyond the upper middle class.
Peasants have always had revolts,
Frustrated petit bourgeois, revolutions.

Proles are by nature obedient creatures that define themselves by working most of the time.  They love to brag about how busy they are, all the sacrifices they’ve made while working, the injuries they’ve gotten doing the dirty work of the affluent.  They are masochists eternally dying in mines and on battlefields for their masters.  They take comfort in repetition.  Proles always buy the same brands, drive the same route every day, work the same tedious work, and listen to the same 25 songs everyone else is listening to over and over again.
Proles take pride in collectivism and trust the herd.  In a prole bar one doesn’t try to to order craft beers or wine when everyone else has pitchers of coors light.  In Proleville, no man can be talked to if he can’t talk about sports—the fine art of watching the accomplishments of others rather than doing for oneself.  Eating different foods, learning another language, staying fit with exercise, anything everyone else isn’t doing is a quick ticket to being cast out.  Just as they would not let a dog or pig sit with them at the dinner table, they allow no one in their midst who they cannot identify as a fellow human.

Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, or Khmer Rouge Cambodia are fine examples of what happens when the common man becomes ruler.  Given far more power than befits his station, his natural loathing and envy of anyone different than himself manifests in hysterical witch hunts.  Men like Mao and Stalin understood the vastness of this ocean of envy for The Man and kept their populations appeased by allowing the peasants to terrorize the hated middle management—rich peasants, the landlords, the educated.  Given permission by the rulers themselves, their normally impotent rage at life poured forth to create some of history’s greatest disasters.

The majority of human beings are proles.  The family I come from were classic anxious upper proles desperately groveling for middle class acceptance.
Their neurotic habits led to the isolation that allowed me to grow up in a vacuum of sorts and eventually develop customs of my own.
I learned to understand the futility of their struggle and regard their subservient attitudes with contempt.
I am genetically a prole, more predisposed to an honest day’s labor than white collar “networking.”
But I have striven to become an active rather than passive individual, attempting to shape my own destiny rather than spending the rest of my life complaining during lunch break.  If I accept the universe is fundamentally just rather than unjust, then I must face the fact that I must be the change I wish to see.
I may have unfair obstacles in my path.  I can choose to suppose I got a bad lot in life.  It does not change my mission.

Some might call my sentiment here “elitist” but that is why proles stay proles.  They always stay steadfast that they are undeserving of the lot they’ve been given yet remain ignorant in an age of information and continue to squander their wealth on big trucks and houses they can’t afford, lotto tickets, slot machines, smokes, and red bull by the case.  Most importantly, though, they are eternally bereft of imagination and ideas—and that is why things are the way they are.

Lack of a Long Term is the Problem With Capitalism

Unregulated capitalism knows no past or future, it concerns only the desires of the present.
The state must serve the role of investor to guide the self-destructive child that is the free market.
This means watching out for the long term interests of the society.
Even before American independence, free market greed set up a disaster as business owners chose to import slaves rather than pay to import labor.
They saved themselves money and time for awhile, but by so doing they sank to the degradation of keeping slaves and doomed their children and grandchildren to all the problems that came with having a captive population of millions, doomed hundreds of thousands of grandkids to perish in battle, and saddled an entire people with problems that still must be dealt with hundreds of years later.

Clearly those old planter aristocrats cared nothing for the future, had no use to care for anything beyond the day they died.
But why should a society have any regard for the needs of the reckless and greedy who plan to leave their mess for others to clean up?
Surely such fools surrender implicitly their freedoms in the same way as a murderer, who threatens his victims more immediately and more directly.
Surely they harm society in the long term as surely as a high IQ welfare mother helps society’s future.
A highly intelligent woman raising a large brood of kids makes her less able to work a job, but she more than makes up for her individual output of one lifetime by contributing several valuable lives who will bear quality offspring in turn.
A society that consumes her entire potential in the workforce, devouring the leisure time she needs for family and children cheerfully eats its seed corn, dooming future generations to poverty and suffering.
So too did an 18th century planter consume the seed corn of the crop that rightly belonged to his children by importing slaves.
So too does a modern business owner import temporary talent from every corner of the earth to avoid the temporary expense of training local people who will always be there and teach their craft to their children.

The murderer may kill a few people before he is caught, but the long-term evil doer may well leave behind problems that affect everyone after him forever.
Let’s imagine some finite resource is utterly consumed according to the supposedly holy and infallible forces of demand.  We may suppose that when the resource is still abundant, demand dictates it be used for the most mundane and frivolous purposes without a second thought even though it may run out forever by noon tomorrow.  The free market is by nature a stampede of lemmings.
Without firm guidance, the free market enshrined as God in America becomes a rampant cancer.
And many forget, that without the intervention of government, there are no markets, only loot and plunder.

So a great state must protect its future investments from predation and in righteous ruthlessness crush those low souls who are willing to benefit now while incurring a net expense for everyone else later.

There are those who do not care what happens later — fine.  But by the principle of justice they cannot expect anyone to care about their problems, their property, or their freedoms, now or ever.

The problem of course is in the absence of philosopher kings, we fear the abuses of such a government more than we expect competence in its administrators.

Only Young Societies Are Egalitarian

A quick glance at the USA tells me it takes about 3-400 years for a brand new society of frontiersmen and settlers to settle down into a civilization at equilibrium.

Every mass society that’s been around for any length of time has set traditions and customs, stratified social classes, and the vast majority living close to subsistence with a ruling class and its functionaries controlling most wealth.

This truth began to dawn on me when I first moved from the American West where “everyone is middle class” to the East Coast.
To my amazement I soon encountered a highly structured caste system.  Each stratum of society lived entirely separate from the others even if they existed in close proximity.  For each caste there were clear codes of dress, of speech, of behavior.
Working low status jobs that required uniforms or heavy duty work clothes, I quickly came to understand that white collar types, the perpetually harried and anxious middle classers, would refuse to acknowledge my existence, even trying to walk right through me as if I weren’t there.  Talking to them was out of the question.
Sure enough, when I went out in nicer clothing, I had no trouble getting their attention and talking to them.  I was amazed.

Lower proles often wore black shoes and gray baggy clothes that allowed them to blend into walls and not be seen as they hauled dollies loaded with goods in and out of shops or cleaned up the streets.   These people I saw were the local class of untouchables, ashamed even to be noticed.

There were aristocrats who walked about in elegant earth tones with a satisfied smug expression on their faces.  Just beneath them were their upper middle class followers, whose attempt to imitate their masters’ smile looked more like a petulant sneer.

In the West where I had been raised, athleticism, fitness, and outdoor activity had been counted as virtues.
In the East, the physical was clearly seen as a vice, fit only for proles.
Men prided themselves on being stick thin, emphasizing their gaunt figures with tight clothes.  For women, gentle Yoga in indoor studios, well away from the sun, was the most vigorous activity they permitted themselves.  They seemed to me very like Chinese mandarins who grew their nails long to show beyond all doubt that they never had to perform lowly physical labor.

It was not just the social systems of the East that made me think at once of China and India, but also the sheer density of people.
For the first time in my life, there were endless crowds everywhere I went.  Public restrooms were scarce, the few available, mobbed by hundreds of people and filthy.  Any public resource at all in such an environment was sure to be quickly exhausted in a true tragedy of the commons.  There were few places to sit, even fountains were designed to make it difficult for people to snatch up the coins dropped in them.    The spaces shown as “parks” on the maps were just islands in the middle of intersections, a ring of benches around a statue, most of them occupied by sleeping homeless people.

On reflection, I understood the East coast of the US, unlike the West, had existed for awhile under the rule of England and inherited its customs and institutions.  But mainly, it has simply been there longer.
All available resources and social positions are taken, everyone is caught in competition for an unchanging quantity of scarce resources.

I realized that the Western USA with its relatively informal egalitarian culture is an aberration.  It’s simply too new to have settled into a more normal system.  The West is still a frontier.
Once there’s no more frontier, people have to live together in the same society.
Within a few generations, people assort roughly into classes based on their ability to control wealth and exert power.  Then each class largely breeds with its own until each caste is practically a distinct genetic breed.
Once the process is complete, you have the classic mature social structure that’s indistinguishable from Ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia.

It is important to make this observation because many of humanity’s best accomplishments come from exuberant new cultures over short periods of time, while ancient empires more often plod on for milennia in a senile daze, living on borrowed inertia, unable to adapt or change, with millions of striving laborers, not one of them producing a new idea.

Smart Racial Realism

It seems in the modern day that European Americans are the only group that doesn’t stick together while every other ethnicity seems to help each other out.
In my experience as a wanderer, I discovered the harsh reality that ethnicity is one of my fundamental traits, one I carry with me everywhere whether I like it or not.
I’ve been denied a job before when they learned I wasn’t Mexican.  I’ve been all but forced out of a job by black co-workers.  I curse my ancestors for allowing these outsiders to take over.

Rather than feeling guilt, “whites” should thank their lucky stars that they were the ones with the power.  I’ve seen the solidarity among just about any other group in the real world.  Long-nosed Europeans would have been wiped off the map if they hadn’t been able to defend themselves.  Most East Asian cultures, for example, are very frank about regarding other peoples as monkeys.

But experience also taught me working among European American proles is no better.  Just like the blacks and Mexicans, they sense I’m not of their kind.  Proles are everywhere the same.  Only the proportion of prolishness of a race differs.

Over years I experienced the difficulties of race, but also was forced to accept that class is more important.

This is where retarded white nationalists go wrong.  They blame all their problems in life on race.

I see the American Civil War as a grand monument to this sort of idiocy.

I’ll never understand why a single non-rich white in the South cared to fight for slavery, a system that hurt them and only benefited the very rich.

Most people who opposed the spread of slavery didn’t care about the slaves.  It wasn’t their problem.  What concerned them was the disastrous effect on the job market when abundant free labor arrives!

To your average white guy, the spread of slavery back then was like the mass illegal immigration and automation we face now.
One of the reasons young Abraham Lincoln’s family was forced to leave Kentucky for Illinois—slavery moved in and the prospects for ordinary people plummeted.
This early experience undoubtedly played a role in shaping the future president’s views.  He was first a believer in the whiggish program of spreading wealth through developing infrastructure and commerce.  Slavery, a system that concentrated wealth on a few plantations and strangled commerce was inimical to his aims.

The vast majority of white southerners would have done better to forge an alliance with black slaves to overthrow the parasitic plantation owners without anyone in the North ever having to say anything.

That hundreds of thousands of them lined up to get shot for a system that only benefited the rich shows what dupes they were.  Faithful dogs, mere tools in the hands of their rulers.

To everything there’s a golden mean.  On one hand failing to embrace race realism is willful self delusion.  On the other hand, being obsessed with race makes one an easily manipulated pawn in the plans of the powerful.
If proles are everywhere the same, so are elites.
A millionaire in Massachusetts has far more in common with his counterparts in China or Nigeria than he has with a powerless US prole with his light beer, smokes, and football games.

When you bring up race with people in America only two possibilities can be imagined.
-Outright race war.
-Deluded ideas of sameness and equality.

It’s such a charged subject that no one can actually seem to think about it.  Being treated as a taboo subject prevents the issue being genuinely discussed.

I care about race because I know that when other peoples take over, I’m an outsider to them who will always be last in line to receive the fruits of society.  When you’re obviously different from everyone else, you become an easy target.  Cherokee Indians who tried to integrate into white culture discovered this the hard way.  If you live in another people’s culture, you’re at their mercy.  If one day they decide to exterminate you or take your stuff, too bad.

There’s no mystical magic in a race, though.  If I determine my clan’s interests can be better served by working with other peoples, I will do so.  I would gladly ally with blacks who share my interests against some plutocratic parasite with my skin color.  If I went out and took a bullet in some billionaire’s war because x people are bad, I would deserve what I got.

Race reality in modern America isn’t about racial solidarity to the point of stupidity.  It’s about recognizing opportunities for arbitrage across racial lines.  If I can get a hotter black or latina woman than I can a white woman, then I will not hesitate.
I’ve found that jobs with lots of blacks tend to have lower expectations.  Most Blacks don’t work hard if they don’t have to, a virtue as far as I’m concerned.  So  when I can get along with my co-workers, it’s great, because I can get paid for standing around half the time.  Whites and Asians who aspergically slave away spoil things for everyone.

Smart race realism means:
-A people must guard its territory; there must be a place that is unequivocally its own, even if it’s just a few city blocks.  It must protect its own and not give stupid concessions.  A people that shows signs of weakness gets quickly wiped out by its neighbors.
-A people must also maintain relations with its neighbors, being always ready to make a good deal.
-A people’s internal parasites are as much a threat as any outside people and must be dealt with.

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