Posts Tagged ‘corporatism’

Horseshoe Theory: Large Corporations Behave Like Communism

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

The theory of Crowdism states that our problem as a species is not a particular ideology, but any behavior in which humans become a goal in themselves. This is equivalent to a means-over-ends analysis that selects for methods which do not harm, inconvenience or embarrass any individual.

Since the dawn of our species, humans have been self-destructing in groups because at a certain point, the herd wins out. The innovators, leaders and pioneers are always few and the herd many, and the herd takes over and makes the activity about the herd, instead of about its ostensible purpose.

And so a business becomes a support system for its workers (unions, socialism); a government becomes an industry for lobbyists and bureaucrats; a church group becomes a social opportunity for bored middle class ladies; a gang becomes a cult centered around a leader who tells people what they want to hear.

This is the real horseshoe theory: at any point, human endeavors become their opposites because the need of the herd to be a goal in itself inverts the purpose of the organization.

Witness the similarities between monopolistic businesses and Communism:

Look at how Google games searches. A study reported in The Wall Street Journal found that in 25,000 random Google searches ads for Google products appeared in the most prominent slot 91% of the time. How is that not the unfair leveraging of search dominance and the abuse of algorithm? All 1,000 searches for “laptops” started with an ad for Google’s Chromebook — 100% of the time. Kim Jong Un would be envious of results like that at election time.

And then there are the recently launched Google snippets, which stylistically highlight search results as if they were written on stone tablets and carried down from the mountain. Their sheer visual physicality gives them apparent moral force. The word “Orwellian” is flagrantly abused, but when it comes to the all-powerful algorithms of Google, Amazon and Facebook, “Orwellian” is UNDER-used.

As for news, institutional neglect has left us perched on the edge of the slippery slope of censorship.

Interestingly enough, Mencius Moldbug picked up on this years ago by noting that organizations who desire a monopoly no longer act out of need, but out of aspiration to total power and total control:

Sometimes I get an almost Soviet feel off Google. After all, what was the Soviet Union but a whole country run by a single company? Of course, Google is much better managed than the Soviet Union. But give it a few years.

When you are writing a large piece of software in order to just give it away, it has to be a labor of love. If it’s not a labor of love, the task becomes Brezhnevian. Google will do just fine if everyone in the world accesses their servers via Apple or Microsoft phones. The commercial justification for writing Android strikes me as quite thin.

While this passage argues against his own theory of Neoreaction — if big corporations running a country end up like the Soviet Union did, then Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarianism is not an escape from the human problem described in the first paragraph of this essay — he makes a good point: we either act toward ends for the sake of those ends alone, or we become the ends, and then regulate method until we invert ourselves from ends-over-means to means-over-ends and filter out anything that offends the herd. That in turn produces the entropy that takes down every human group from a cluster of friends through a civilization, namely that internal division predominates over cooperation because the meaning of the activity has been lost through inversion.

Any corporation, if it becomes large enough, comes to serve itself, just like any government without hierarchy and culture becomes a parasitic predator determined to use its people as a means to the end of itself. Without some kind of cooperative goal, as is found in culture and transcendent appreciation of life, the activity becomes merely technical and then, becomes a purpose in itself.

Plato noted this in his own account of the end of a golden age and the degeneration to the point where democracy “seemed like a good idea” to the round-headed herd:

When discord arose, then the two races were drawn different ways: the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver; but the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things. There was a battle between them, and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners; and they enslaved their friends and maintainers, whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen, and made of them subjects and servants; and they themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them.

You either do things for their own sake, or they become masters over you. You can feed your people because you love them, strive for excellence, fight for supremacy, and try to build the greatest civilization ever, and fortune will shine on you. But when you are doing things because of the things themselves, like “we gotta keep the corporation running” or “the Party demands sacrifice,” then everything falls apart. That is the horseshoe in effect: whether Communist or Capitalist, you will end up in the same place without some kind of transcendental goal.

Plato calls it virtue. Christians call it holiness, but that seems too serving of itself as well. To the ancients in The Odyssey, it was a sense of putting the world to right, both morally uncompromising in a way that the Christians wish they could be, and geared toward balance more nuanced than the silly yin-yang that every teenager puts on their bedroom wall next to the dreamcatcher and Che Guevara poster.

Without this transcendental goal and people smart enough to keep us focused on it, every one of our ventures comes to serve itself and then self-destructs. This even applies to Metallica; when they were out there to make the best music they could imagine, the band had quality, but as soon as the goal became making the band more successful, the quality dwindled and popularity surged. This is the sign of an entropy bloom: like a red tide, at first the algae seem to be successful because their numbers have increased, but then there is a population crash. Like yeast in a bowl of syrup, or lemmings in a field of grain.

That transition from cooperation to control is what wrecks human endeavors, even solitary ones.

Consider the church. First it came to save the souls of men, but then it started competing with pagans and other sects, and acted toward its own power and control. This made it corrupt. That then removed the value it offered — salvation by inducing people to do what was necessary to save their minds, souls and logical ability — and it went into decline, but first it became wildly popular because it had lowered standards to the point where the herd could participate. Profiteers surged in and made themselves famous, but now, it is basically a dead institution in the first world. So it goes.

Power serves only itself unless you have an aristocrat — a philosopher king, in the sense of Marcus Aurelius and Meister Eckhart — to intervene and redirect things toward intangible and immutable but ongoing goals, known as the transcendentals. These are exclusively qualitative and relative, such as the classic formulation “the good, the beautiful and the true,” and also include the Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure sense of just wanting excellence, a form of benevolent elitism. Make everything the best of everything.

As the old saying goes, you either struggle upstream or are swept downstream. Civilizations either reach for constant improvement or are swept into the third world mentality of subsistence living, essentially dishonest people, and warlords to act as fences to keep the herd from running loose and harming itself.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

On claiming that certain things are not political or ideological

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015


On the right, it is popular to disclaim “ideology” and “politics.” There is truth to this, since the right is consequentialist and thus not based in should-be thinking like the left, and neoreaction is not populist, so it does not fall under politics which is itself a creation of democracy.

However, there is also a fallacy here. Ideology can mean any doctrine or philosophy with an end result of changing the world. Politics means any thought or thought process which addresses political change. Trying to step out of these things that way, and claim to be a theory above it all as some in Tradition and Neoreaction do, despite being well-intentioned, leads to confusion because it is not wholly true.

Any belief, even if a reality-based one as all consequentialist ones are, becomes both ideology and politics because it competes with ideology and intends a change in politics. To play a categorical game of denying this seems clever at first, until one realizes that by doing so, the belief system has stated itself as personal preference alone, and thus, has no application beyond how you order your lawn and 401(k).

While the corporatist line of Neoreaction is tempting, in which people sign on to managed communities where a corporation returns value and is accountable for its services, in reality these places show the downside of capitalism unchecked by culture: crass commerce, mixed-race social chaos, and a need — as time goes on — for increasing internal security as in the style of leftist states.

New Right introduced new “thought methods” just as Neoreaction and Tradition did. All of these beliefs fall under rightism not because right-wingers claim them, but because their ideals fit into the basic rubric of the right: consequentialist, or results-based, with a transcendental aim for “the good, the beautiful and the true” or “the perennial things” (Huxley) or “Tradition” (Evola).

While these new intellectual methods give us better ways to discuss the need for a society based on the above, they do not escape us from their intent: to change politics and counter ideology. It is best that all be honest about this, as otherwise we fall into the traps that allow leftist entryism, namely making our philosophy solely a “personal preference” or series of choices made while shopping for goods and services, and allowing entryism by making the method more important than the aim.

Our corporate overlords

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

In older societies, a clear hierarchy prevailed that determined who discussed politics. Our society has no such limitations, so that any person feels free to fling their opinion into the ring regardless of their knowledge of critical thinking.

One consequence of this is a form of trickle-down logic: we have many people emulating those who know more than they. This is a problem because someone who knows little is least qualified to judge the person who knows more.

The result is the blind leading the blind, with a vast field of useful idiots chanting their favorite opinions and shouting down those who disagree.

One of their favorite rants is that left and right are illusions, government is a sham and that really, we’re surging into a future where corporations control everything and we serve them. This conspiracy thinking is ludicrous as anti-Jewish (ZOG), anti-Mason, anti-White and anti-wealth conspiracies, but because it’s popular, no one says this.

Fast-forward to Scott Walker today. Representing a new breed apart from Wisconsin’s earlier Republicans, he is seeking to re-open the asset-grabbing Gilded Age style. A plague of rent-seekers is seeking quick gains by privatising the public sector and erecting tollbooths to charge access fees to roads, power plants and other basic infrastructure.

Economics textbooks, along with Fox News and shout radio commentators, spread the myth that fortunes are gained productively by investing in capital equipment and employing labour to produce goods and services that people want to buy. This may be how economies prosper, but it is not how fortunes are most easily made. One need only to turn to the 19th-century novelists such as Balzac to be reminded that behind every family fortune lies a great theft, often long-forgotten or even undiscovered. – The Guardian

This is a restatement of the usual rant: the corporates are coming to take over. They will steal from you, gain power, and force you to be serfs on their feudal mansions. They will steal from you, oppress you and force you to serve.

Like most popular rants, it is a clever but not intelligent subterfuge. Its goal is to distract from the actual truth: humanity is under assault by its reckless growth and production of too many stupid, incompetent, lazy, criminal and corrupt people. We are not oppressed. We are the oppressor — of ourselves.

If that fact were to become common knowledge however, two things would happen. First, blatant bad behavior would no longer be tolerated. Second, people who are clueless and thus unsure what is good behavior and bad behavior would no longer have the free ride of “tolerance” they get with pluralism.

Obviously, people who cannot tell the difference between good behavior and bad behavior, or who don’t care to find out, are a big problem. If you have enough of them, enough bad things will happen that innocent people will demand some form of powerful law enforcement.

In the Wisconsin labor dispute, now increasingly spreading nationwide, I have lost count of the times union defenders have justified their position based on little more than the assertion that some union benefitted them or some member of their family — followed by the conclusion that all Americans must therefore gain. Unfortunately, that “logic” is invalid. A policy that gives me more does not mean the result is better for us. And the primary effect of unions and union-backed policies is to harm the vast majority of Americans.

Unions succeed by leveraging special government-granted powers to eliminate competition from other workers who are willing to do the same work for less. (This is a form of collusion that would be legally prosecuted if done by anyone else.) – Ludwig von Mises Institute

In this we see backward thinking: what is good for me, is good.

Backward thinking happens when people abandon cause/effect logic. Instead of spotting an effect and tracing events backward to its cause, they look at the visual appearance of an effect and think of a possible cause — the possible cause that is most convenient for them.

As a result, instead of trying to figure out what would be most productive and healthy for a nation, they use a convenient mental shorthand to think of what is good for them, and extrapolate that (randomly) to the nation as a whole.

Why? Because it looks that way. When the nation does well, they do well. So they write that backward and insist that if they are doing well, the nation must also be doing well. Even though this defies all logic.

It’s more accurate to say they don’t care what is good and what is bad, only what is convenient for them. Normally, we call this selfishness, but in our pluralistic age, that may be a New Age religion, gender choice, lifestyle choice or political view, so we can’t be publicly critical of it.

This sort of backward thinking also has us blaming corporations. Instead of looking to see the cause of our misfortune, we find it convenient to blame the means by which it appears to us — large corporations, governments, kings or organized religion. Find someone in power and blame them if anything goes wrong.

From a more sensible viewpoint, we can see the causal relationship is reversed. Corporations do not act as they do from some sinister occult agenda. Rather, they respond to what the buyers want, and what the economic and social climate will allow them to do.

Corporate behavior does not exist in a vacuum. If you have an opportunity to make your products or services cheaper or more profitable, and you don’t take it, someone else will, and thus you will perish. As a result, you cannot ignore cheaper wages in India, or the possibility that a well-placed $10,000 donation will change a pesky law. If you ignore those potential value-adders, you’re leaving yourself open to attack.

And the consumers don’t care. In the store, the price on the shelf (and the value of the brand, which sometimes is a force multiplier, as in Mercedes-Benz or Macintosh) determines who wins. The consumer does not stop to read a dissertation on ethics. They pick Widget A or Widget B based on price.

The corporation that does not slash costs and buy politicians loses out to the one that will, and if lawyers and cops intervene, it’s after the fact — the money will already have been made. The corporations are not the problem.

What could be the problem is the empire of the lowest common denominator. The lowest price or the trendiest gadget determines who wins out in the corporate world because the number of people liking something determines its success. This is true democracy: voting with our feet.

People find that thought terrifying. This means that instead of a simple world, where we must defeat the evil Darth Satan-Hitler corporations and then go be happy Ewoks in the fields, we face a more complex world. The design of our society, or rather the lack thereof and the lack of values created, causes corporations to be what they are. We create corporations, and our thoughtlessness makes them powerful.

Why do corporations game the system? Because we instruct them to, by our practice of buying the lowest cost widget or the highest trend gadget. We don’t care about anything else. Sure, we make a big show of it when it comes time to vote for government regulation, but that’s not caring. That’s putting a band-aid on the situation. We all know how inefficient, slumbering and oblivious bureaucracies are. We don’t expect them to succeed.

In the meantime, by insisting on The Great Corporate Conspiracy as our mental model for our society, we screw up in several crucial ways:

  • Poisoning our minds. We fill our heads with the illusory, which makes it harder to complete a sane thought, since the archetypes we are using suggest illusion is reality.
  • Missing the real fight. By tilting after windmills instead of figuring out the real source of our misfortune, we lose by fighting the wrong thing, and discredit the notion of fighting back in the process.
  • Wasting our energy. We drain ourselves fighting phantoms, and then when it comes time to fix everyday problems or be vigilant for new issues, we’re loafing on the sofa all tuckered out.
  • Addiction to the lie. A simple us-versus-them lie is much more enticing than a complex truth. When one gets its hooks into our brain, we follow it and when it is proven wrong, we redouble our efforts. We are addicted to that nice easy worldview where we are good and we must destroy some bad thing.

Are corporations ever bad? Certainly — when the will of the people which they represent is bad. In our society now, we’ve thrown out the idea of a central transcendental ideal (religion), a central values system and intangible rewards structure (culture), a common set of activities and challenges (customs) and even a similar way of viewing the world and finding our goals within it (philosophy).

We have replaced a whole civilization with one that is basically an open-air marketplace. To get outraged when people or corporations game that system is a little bit silly, because we no longer have values and behaviors in common. The only yardstick is whether what you are doing is legal or not, and that includes working to change the law so your formerly illegal acts are OK.

If you want to know why people so fanatically want to blame corporations, this is it: they don’t want to blame themselves, because by demanding a civilization without leaders or standards, they have created a soulless marketplace that rewards soulless behavior. To reverse that, you can’t beat on corporations; you have to restructure civilization so that it’s whole again.

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