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Tag Archives: social capital

Scarcity of Social Capital Sustains Institutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Scarcity of Social Capital in Western Societies

In most of the world and through most of history, social capital has been far more important for most people than money won by participation in the market.  The 1st world has become a dramatic reversal in how human society works with jobs rendering people’s wellbeing far more than friends, family, or community.  The beginning of our lives we spend with parents or caretakers is now a passing larval stage, our adulthood spent fluttering aloft on market forces.

The strange inversion of commerce and social life means there are millions of strangers paying monthly bills with few connections between them all.  The irony of a mass commercial society is its scarcity of social capital on all levels of human relations.
After we leave school, we spend most our time at work and that’s where we tend to form our social circles.  But these are circles of convenience, the tacit understanding that these associations are temporary and subordinate to paycheck or promotion.  We watch what we say with friends at work, never knowing if we could be talking to our future supervisor or if we could be turned in by informants for our irreverent gossip.

In the hours of the day we have left, we go to bars and meetup events but there everyone has their guard up because the baseline of social trust and commonality is far too low in a milling stew of millions.
Even mating is stymied by a multitude of social and sexual harassment tripwires.  Meeting the future wife at the company christmas party becomes a quaint artifact of 80s romantic comedies.  So now, when someone finds a rare non-adversarial scene to interact with the opposite sex, it’s a secret to be closely held like that sweet spot for fishing or mushroom hunting.

In this anonymous mass, filters of pre-selection are essential.  This is in fact how humans have always been, but modernity forces us to struggle to create from scratch the kind of communal structures that were already well-established for our ancestors.

Any kind of social filter is useful as long as it is hard to fake or at least sufficiently uncomfortable.  There must be sacrifice.  In Islam, we have to give up alcohol, fast for a whole month, kneel like fools on prayer rugs.  In Mormonism we have to say we believe in disappearing golden tablets, give up all drugs, and pay up 10% of our income.  The humiliation and monotony if kept up is rewarded with a social network and a family.

Even these traditional networks are not as useful as they used to be in an open society.  It is far more difficult to insure against defection when one can periodically disappear into the the crowd and do whatever they want.  The modern 1st world society naturally sees the decline of traditional doctrines wherever it is not held together by other factors such as ethnicity or relative isolation in the countryside.  For most, different sorts of networks are required.

The most basic and common social filter in a commercial society is money.  Have an auction whether for houses or groceries to price out as many people as possible and when you get down to a manageable number, try to interact sincerely with whoever is left standing.  The result is a society of snobbery where the worthiness of others is synonymous with the accumulation of capital.  This influence shapes the entire world view of those who can afford their McMansion and 2 new cars in a nice neighborhood.  It allows them to cocoon there in willful ignorance and contempt even as the society as a whole starts to fall apart and revolt against them.

We are all infused with the habits and attitudes of the class we were born into.  People assort based on these affinities even though many cannot even understand what they do.  We simply associate with those who we simply like on a gut level.  If we doubt the strength of these subtle signs, we need only look at the visceral revulsion the polite middle classes feel towards Trump with his crass working class mannerisms made infinitely more egregious in their eyes by his high station.

Finally, as 1st world affluence becomes concentrated into a smaller number of hands and the youth culture becomes ever more relatively impoverished we see the emergence of more primitive types of sacrifice signalling.  Many dissidents have commented on the enormous popularity of tattoos and stretched ear-lobe holes from mid-millennials onward.  Without money, status, or meaning, people revert to ritual disfigurement, a signal of group allegiance that comes naturally to hunter-gatherers.

An easy tribal initiation is to ask someone to have their face scarred up with a knife.  It’s a simple, effective ritual popular from the Amazon to Papua New Guinea.  It has a universal appeal because it’s an all-in-one package that requires someone to voluntarily undergo significant pain, adopt a signal of allegiance that can’t be taken back, and is impossible to fake. A tattoo on a hipster or bro-ey pothead comes from that same impulse.  When allegiance and affinity are scarce, its most ostentatious advertisements proliferate.

But what if one has no affinity for religious abasement, has little money or care for wealth signals, and has no connection with the outgoing people with tattoos?  There are plenty that fall between these cracks who struggle to find a place in the milling horde of humanity.  This is especially true of outliers of any kind.

Under these pressures we can easily understand the appeal of the dissident right, antifas, or hard-core SJWs.  People who are unusual in some way in the general population try to find ways congregate where their essential nature is distilled.  This is the impetus behind the formation of the first neo-tribes.

Like someone covered in tattoos, the multi-colored hair, pasty acne speckled skin inflicted by vegan diets, and ugly attire of SJWs penalizes them in the normal society while simultaneously giving them a status boost in their community.  Likewise young men who wear crisp white polo shirts to openly protest against Jews are risking everything in the normal society for a spot in a new society where membership actually means something.

The more we are expected to exist as atomized individuals the more powerfully we grasp for compatible chemical bonds that by their sealing, release enormous energy.  The group that best masters these forces becomes the new dominant tribe.

See Also: How the Middle Class Used to Be Affordable

Macro-Sexenomics: Female Beauty Dysgenics In Modern Society

When the most beautiful women tend to go to the universities and the cities to chase the most successful men, their fertility is necessarily delayed.  They are then lulled into complacency by an endless stream of adoration and awards even as their best days evaporate.

Meanwhile, a plain girl with no equivalent cascade of brain-hacking reward signals sooner cashes in her more clearly finite pile of chips and has a family.  For some reason those girls who got pregnant in high school always seemed to be the chubby, ugly ones.  With no line of admirers awaiting them, there was no reason to delay past the first male willing to rut with them.  Their homeliness turned out to be the greatest fitness advantage in this upside-down modernity in perfect inverse to our primal desires.

Cities have always been gene-shredders, only made possible by the abundant fecundity of the countryside. When the prettiest women are carted en masse into these kill zones the society sacrifices them so they can grace the harems of the mandarin classes in sterile splendor for a short while.
For a woman who lives by her beauty, pregnancy is just an obstacle to her aims of securing adulation, power, and money from men. The game itself becomes untied from its biological objective of children.

How many jaw-dropping starlets have we seen end up barren because their very job is the appearance of eternal availability as a mate?  The moment, she sports a baby bump, she’s never lusted after the same, that irresistible power over powerful men, that unrelenting dopamine surge never to return.

Actresses and entertainers are outliers, but there are millions of pretty young women who have much to gain by staying barren in the short term.  Then some short terms later, their term is up, all the prizes they thought they had won but a vapor at midnight when the spell is broken.  Then their bloodlines are lost to us forever, or at best below replacement as those species with unassuming dun-colored plumage endure.

Never do we seem to consider that beautiful women are some of the most valuable social capital of all.  Just by existing, the group’s men are motivated to the heights of achievement and the best men from other tribes want to join in. 

As with superiority in painting or sculpture, the prettiest women help establish legitimate rule over lesser peoples through dominant aesthetics. 

Female beauty is not just ornamental but an inspiring force that backs the power of money to drive the massive gears of the economy as much as gold ever did. 

Any serious society sees it worthwhile to select for female beauty, in sharp contrast to the present dysfunctional order that aggressively purges the prettiest from the gene pool.

Somehow, modern societies must actively perpetuate and grow their socio-sexual wealth.  
Furthermore, society’s greatest rewards must be funneled to the most valuable men.  A smart tribe in modern times makes sure to hook up successful inventors with supermodels and intuitively cockblocks charismatic charlatans.

The obvious methods of implementation rely on outright coercion but as I’ve pointed out, patriarchy is hard to restore in post-scarcity, post-agrarian, high-information conditions.  Women are better at cooperation than men.  From the telegraph onwards, instant communications meant male political hegemony was dead. 

Many have noted the single great weakness of women, though, is their susceptibility to public opinion and custom.  If the status system can be rigged, the sharia police can be saved a lot of effort. 

The female imperative has some sense of indignation when it is being strategically diverted, as the feminist allegory, The Stepford Wives demonstrates, but against the right suggestive pressures they are as powerless to stop it as men are powerless to stop their own lust and sexual jealousy from being used against them.

Reclaiming male selection for female beauty relies on males’ ability to capitalize in turn on the foibles of the opposite sex in the information age while preferably limiting coercive strategies only to where they are most effective and necessary.

Failing that, humans will perhaps start to revert to a tournament species where a dozen dashing males fight for the attention of one drab female until the edifice of enabling technology finally collapses.

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