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Re: <nettime> Digital leftism in a globalised world?
carlo von lynX on Tue, 31 Jan 2017 05:12:55 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Digital leftism in a globalised world?

On Sun, Jan 29, 2017 at 01:01:09PM +0100, Alexander Bard wrote:

> Thank you for an excellent expose of your position on world politics and
> your defense of the term "neoliberalism".

I was just exercising empathy towards people that use it more than me.  ;)

> To begin with, hardly any mainstream politicians today propose the
> free-for-all hell that you paint in your presentation. The fact that they

Yes, most people have learnt to disagree with neoliberal ideology, but...

> in reality have to follow a pseudo-liberal market is simply a result of the
> collapse of nation-state power to a global libertarian netocracy. Silicon

... exactly. In a globalized world we keep seeing the race to the bottom
of ethics. If the large majority of countries respects certain ethics
of, say, taxation, then some few countries will try to cut out a slice
of strategic advantage by offering a tax haven.. like the UK, traditionally.

> Valley et al is not elected by the people. But their basic ideology is no
> different from yours. We can call it "balanceism" if you like. The

You can't say I have an ideology and Silicon Valley is in any way
similar to it, without elaborating in any way how you got to such
a spectacular statement... Are strawman argumentations a habit of

> explosion of heavy and costly financial and market regulation following
> 2009 proves my point. Thatcher and Reagan did die in 2008. Didn't you
> notice?

Then why is Goldman Sachs so adamant to have Trump remove Obama's
post-2008 regulation? Europe's inability to seriously counter the
bank lobbyists is depressing. The proposal I made does not consider
the inability of corrupt governance to enact it, that's a different
topic for which I have a different idea.

> No, the real scare should now be the collapse of taxation as such (where
> trade barriers is one tax among many, and one of the least constructive).

Eh? Isn't the collapse of taxation *caused* by globalization?

> The real enemy being bitcoin and other crypto currencies, undermining the

Yes, bitcoin is a mid-term threat to democracy - but its current
volume is ridiculous compared to the dimensions of wealth that is
being accumulated using other tax haven methods by the top few.

> very possibility of taxation. How the hell do you tax a world of ultrafast

That's why some people have developed taler.net - a cryptographic
payment system that defends the anonymity of the customer but also
the transparency of the merchant. Therefore, hiding transactions
from the tax office doesn't work.

> financial transactions on Tor browsers? Let's not be naive here: Tax

Yes, we have for a long time criticized the lack of modeling of
ethical and social needs in financial blockchain technologies.
Glad, we are no longer alone. Blockchain-based redistribution
schemes do not work, because the rich simply do not participate.

> authorities are aware of the problem and have no clue have to solve it. Can
> you help them with your anti-neoliberalism? If so, we are on the same side.

Exchanging Bitcoins into real-world valuta will have to become
illegal. It is factually like money laundering.

> The thing is that selfish libertarians can easily sacrifice the Virgin
> Islands now for what awaits them next, the tax-free online paradises to
> come.

Yes, we need to migrate the little volume of legal use of Bitcoin
from blockchain technology to an ethical crypto currency, then
start dismantling the Bitcoin infrastructure. Since sociology has
not found a "distributed" way of implementing social ethical goals,
we need to use the good-old state architecture with its corruptible
but better than nothing 'separation of powers'. Therefore, since
ethics cannot be decentralized, there is no need to decentralize
the transactions. Thus, the blockchain is a useless producer of
overhead, especially because of its climate-unfriendly proof-of-work
operations. As soon as proof-of-stake is implemented using state
authorities, the architecture is hardly different from regular
distributed technology.

> Now this is where I would like to ground contemporary digital Marxism. Not

That's fine. I think Bitcoin is not our biggest problem, but
if we just differ regarding priorities rather than positions,
that's pretty neat.

> absurdly claiming that African population growth is a result of

Wait wait, you could have at least had the decency to ask how I
could possibly deduce such a statement. Too simple to just call
things absurd that you haven't thought about yet.

> neoliberalism. Since it is not. It is the result of decades of hard work to
> stop African mothers from dying at childbirth. And if Europe as expected

That is a nice reason, but maybe not the only one. I have heard
several times, that for billions of poor, having children is
the only alternative to inexistant pensionate guarantees. Of
course children will be loved in any case, but even Italians
went from the most prolific country of Europe in the 60's to
one of the least reproductive in the 90's. Italians love
children, but they're no longer in a hurry of making so many
of them. What happened? Social security was introduced which 
actually worked.

So that's another thing I'd like to have some research about:
anything that confirms or rejects my theory that a credible
social security and wealth redistribution strategy leads to
voluntary reduction of population growth, thus making the
objective of sustainable existence of mankind on Earth a
realistic possibility.

Seen in this perspective, globalization that takes the finances
away from the state that could have served to guarantee aging
security to Africans could be a "neoliberal" cause for massive
population growth among the poorest.

It is also "neoliberal" that population growth, in the obnoxious
externality-free maths of its ideology, is a growth of consumers
that will consider any smartphone, even a bottle of coke, a
status symbol - thus driving fodder for the "free" market.

Exporting countries like Germany are playing a stupid game,
to earn on the growth of poverty elsewhere. A backlash is only
a question of time, and shutting down the borders to Africa
only means war.

> will need their children, migration is not something a Marxist should
> oppose (I expect that from Heideggerians but not from Marxists) but rather
> support.

Yes, Europe can use a lot of immigration, but the world as a
whole cannot take many more billions of humans. Ironically,
fair redistribution would also satisfy the needs of the
xenophobes: if people can leave a decent life wherever they
were born, why would they care to go elsewhere? Au contraire,
it's the xenophobes who can't kick the habit of booking a
cheap flight to sunny beaches.

> We must then arm these African workers with smartphones, credit cards,
> online forums, and fresh copies of "Das Kapital". Or they will do it
> themselves. That's where hope resides.

Smartphones that will spy on them, help to manipulate them so that
they become less able to exercise democratic rights - in case they
have any. Credit cards that will track their financial transaction,
because analog or digital cash is such a bad thing? Online forums
that are insecure like this mailing list? A Kapital which teaches
what is wrong about capitalism, but offers recipes that are worse?

> With open ears and all the best intentions

You keep paving the road to hell  ;)

Some notes about your other mail...

> So are these German voters neo-liberals? Of course not.

Some of them are, very convinced in fact. Not just in the
FDP but also in CDU/CSU. Actually, when I got to Berlin in
1999 I assisted at a meeting of start-up founders and
politicians from the Green party that were at government
at the time, and trying to figure out what they can do for
the German start-up scene. In those days, even the Greens
were essentially neoliberal, not just the entrepreneurs.

But even if the majority if Germans is humanistic, multi-
cultural and democratic, that doesn't mean they have the
cognitive and structural power to elect politicians, that
would actually implement such values. I guess that your
plan of equating the leaderships of countries with their
democratic "sovereign" fails everywhere, maybe even in Sweden.

> So we need a drastic return to Marx.

A statement lacking much argumentation...

> Now, mix Freud with Marx and what do you get? The Frankfurt School.

The rejection of achievements of Enlightenment is
something I don't share with Frankfurt...

> Picketty's mistake is to think that people (and even more so
> corporations) CAN be taxed in the future.

It's a common belief in the anarcho-capitalist driven
darknets, that blockchain tech is unstoppable - but
I see ways for law to win control back. 

> My response is to reach for the utopian skies
> and go all the way for a global democracy.

Another one of my pet projects I didn't find time for.
But I have an idea on how to do it, in fact.

> Just google Peter Thiel and Palantir and there you go.

Big data services for government agencies?
Is it so much different from Google?
Oh you mean big data being a threat to whatever was
left of democracy. Yes, of course, it is.
That's why I know some folks that draft a legislation
initiative that makes the data-driven economy not
only illegal but technically no longer possible.

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