Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Pandemic Road to Serfdom

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In a previous look at where Marxism sits nowadays in contemporary Western society I finished up with the question of where it was going inside its last great target, the USA.

To that end I found two interesting takes on that question.

First up, The Pandemic Road to Serfdom, which says our current troubles, like the great plagues of the Middle Ages, is going to have an effect, and posits two new classes: the New Oligarchs, and the Clerisy:
The oligarchic class now owns as much as 50% of world’s assets. Just five companies—Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft—account for over 20% of the market capitalization of the entire S&P 500 index.
...
Known as the First Estate in pre-revolutionary France, the clerisy today is largely secular but consists of the key influencers in the media, academia, the upper bureaucracy and the ever-expanding “non-profit” sector.
 Okay, but so what? How are these new classes really going to benefit from our current troubles?
The new regime of social distancing, likely to remain influential for years to come, works most directly for the interests of the technologized oligarchy. The long-term decline of travel, convention, and traditional entertainment may mean disaster for millions of workers and many businesses, but it represents an enormous opportunity for those who can deliver food, goods, diversions, and experiences over the relative safety of digital networks. 
But as jobs are destroyed on Main Street, others, like those at well-positioned Amazon, are created by the hundreds of thousands. It is also a rosy new dawn for online collaboration applications like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Rooms, Microsoft Teams, and Slack, the fastest-growing business app on record.
And of course this will also drive the tech industry's consolidation, with firms like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, controlling upwards of 80% of such key markets as search, social media, cloud computing, and computer operating systems. And the Clerisy is right beside them:
Like their Medieval counterparts in the old First Estate, members of today’s clerisy see their intrusions motivated not by self-interest but rather the good of society. They constitute “the privileged stratum,” as the French leftist Christophe Guilluy argues in his recent book Twilight of the Elites, operating from an assumption of “moral superiority” that justifies their right to instruct others.

Thomas Piketty refers to them as “The Brahmin Left”, or we could just call them The Fergusonians. They're quite the enablers of the Oligarchs and they fit right in with control of information resources:
Perhaps most concerning will be their ability to control all aspects of information as the last vestiges of local and small-town journalism face Covid-driven “extinction level” events. What is now left of the “legacy” media—the Atlantic, Time, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times—has fallen increasingly under their control.
They may as well have mentioned the New York Times, which survives only because it is owned by Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim. And of course many people now get their news from Facebook and other Social Media sources.

As if all this was not bad enough, it is combined with the decline of the existing classes:
Millions of owners of small businesses have been devastated by the lockdowns, their lifetime investments allowed to turn to dust because the clerisy has declared them “non-essential” and hopes to keep them in lockdown well into the summer. 
Worse still, as the promise of becoming business owners and homeowners has faded—particularly for the young—many increasingly fall into the insecure “precariat” of gig and part-time workers. These modern-day serfs are suffering the most from the pandemic. Millions of low-wage workers in hospitality, retail, and restaurants have lost their jobs and possess only meager prospects of getting them back in the near- or even medium-term future. 
It should come as no surprise that the NASDAQ have coming roaring back with companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and others in the lead.

Still, there is the possibility that this disaster would actually encourage the development of good old-fashioned socialism in the USA, al la Bernie Sanders.

But there is another direction it could take, more likely because it has already been on this path in recent years, and it's pulled Bernie with it. It's the world of woke politics, it's beautifully suited to the Oligarchic Class and The Clerisy', it's what's really driving the US riots and I'll take a look at it in the next of these articles.

30 comments:

Anne Tiffa said...

Well, at least in NZ you are still free to fuck whoever you want. Unlike in the UK where your hero Boris The Clown has banned fucking anyone who doesn't currently live with you.

Tom Hunter said...

It's called a "Bubble" Anne Tiffa, or as you call it, My Warm and Furry Safe Space. Apparently it's designed to stop old people dying from Wuhan Flu and anybody who breaches the rules is being all selfish and horrible.

Or so I've been told by the politicians and governments that you support here in NZ.

You don't want to argue with science, decency and caring for others do you?

Anne Tiffa said...

Well Tomas, I though you were all about civil disobedience, sticking it to the man, fighting for FREEEDUM. But obviously Mrs Hunter won't let you out of her sight. Seems to me, you should by exercising your FRREEEDUM by fucking as many people as you can.

Tom Hunter said...

Well the fucking is taken care of so it's other little freedoms I've missed and which I'm regaining by ignoring the rules that you support - when you think it's politically helpful of course. Judging by your outburst you haven't had it in while so its time to dump the rules you so loudly demanded others obey.

Selfish prick. You're probably a Randian masquerading as an communist. 😃

And as usual you miss the point, so let me me remind you from my previous article this morning about The Penny Begins To Drop:

TV has given us the illusion that anarchy is people rioting in the streets, smashing car windows and looting every store in sight. But there’s also the polite, quiet, far deadlier anarchy of the core citizenry — the upright citizenry — throwing in the towel and deciding it’s just not worth it anymore.

That's me. I'm practising civil disobedience not by your methods of rioting or protesting in the streets but the simple and easy comfort of refusing to comply with your bullshit rules - which you obviously don't accept yourself anyway.

Psycho Milt said...

...it's what's really driving the US riots...

Seriously? The USA's got a riot epidemic that makes its Covid-19 epidemic look trivial, its president thinks the most appropriate response (apart from awkwardly holding up a Bible in front of a church and looking like a guy completely unfamiliar with either bibles or churches) is to dither between going all Tianenmen Square on their asses and calling in the white supremacists to sort things out, and you think the problem is that minority of a minority that gets described as "woke?" I'm not fond of those pink-haired narcissists myself, but that's just ridiculous.

Tom Hunter said...

Well Psycho, I think you'll enjoy the next one, because it goes to the heart of that woke politics bullshit in terms of class warfare.

But the riots....

Sorry, but I lived through the '92 shit, listening to a NZ friend telling me with fear about her plane being diverted from LAX to SF because of the riots and wondering what she was getting into even visiting the US (first time).

This is normal for America and has been for 200 years.

Seriously.

And if you were even half as much into Marxist Class Warfare as you think you are you'd know what this is about. This is not about racism like it was in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. There have been too many Black heroes worshipped since then by millions of young white boys for that old White-Black shit to be true except in the most minute spaces.

Right now in Chicago the Latin Kings are already patrolling their areas against Blacks, not because of the usual drug turf fights but because they're actually defending the shops and shit that their Hispanic relatives own. And the same thing is happening with Blacks in Minneapolic and St Paul telling little pieces of White Antifa trash to fuck off out of their areas.

Anonymous said...

Got any links to that Tommo. How the hell do you know about the gang structure in Chicago when you live in Cowpat Waikato....bloody MSM, you just can't believe them can you?

Your fixation with Communism which you always mistake for something else makes no sense.

Petrie Dish

Snowflake said...

Wow Tommy your rainbow coloured vision of an America united in its fight against whoever the rioters are is so inspiring! Thank God President Trump is inflaming the violence! He's healing Merka!

Psycho Milt said...

This is normal for America and has been for 200 years.

Er, yes. That's exactly the problem. Everyone makes a fuss for a bit, then they go back to white supremacy as normal. No doubt we'll be seeing similar riots in future decades, albeit hopefully without such a disastrous PotUS making things worse.

Tom Hunter said...

then they go back to white supremacy as normal.

Utter fucking Marxist bollocks.

Snowflake said...

Stating the prosaic truism that American institutions and government policy favour white people and disadvantage ethnic minorities since forever is Marxist now? When did that happen? I suppose the Red Summer, was just a bit of playful hazing, and African American incarceration rates are just because they’re very naughty? And voter suppression is a liberal lie like lynching and sundown towns.

Are you gaslighting, Tommy, or just really ignorant?

Tom Hunter said...

Stating the prosaic truism...

Wow! You can almost hear the sniff and the lofted nose in the air.

Are you really that ignorant about the USA, "Snowflake"? Like the the Fascists? Like the Japanese, both WWII and 1980's?

Why yes. Yes you are.

Snowflake said...

Well now everyone, just listen to Tocqueville! What. A. Wanker.

Tom Hunter said...

One of the things I love about you "Snowflake", is the way you just unload these self-evident truths like a classic Lefty. As in, "of course it's true minion, I have spoken"

What. A. Wanker.

Oh no, ladies and gentlemen. For absolute masturbatory joy I give you....

Stating the prosaic truism...

Come on Sweetheart, say "wanker" again. And this time with feeling.

Psycho Milt said...

The thing is, "a prosaic truism" is an accurate description. Conservatives are the only people who can look at the history of the USA somehow without noticing that salient feature, even when there are race riots every couple of decades (and for those thinking it might be a recent phenomenon, or that white people are the victims of such riots, this Twitter thread might be educational.

Psycho Milt said...

Sorry, wrong URL - this is the thread.

Anonymous said...

Given your views I suspect no self respecting wanker would want to breathe the same air as you. Bugger I feel myself slipping into insult mode which is what you you want eh tommy boy.

If "Utter fucking Marxist bollocks" is the limit of your repartee then it does bring into question the source of your posts?.

Not from the cloud above the "gladiator school" is it?

Petrie Dish

Snowflake said...

Stop providing Tommy with facts and evidence, Psycho. He lived in middle-class Chicago for 20 minutes 20 years ago, so knows everything there is to know of American history and culture.

Tom Hunter said...

"a prosaic truism" is an accurate truism only in the eyes of Leftists reductionists.

Conservatives are the only people who can look at the history of the USA somehow without noticing that salient feature,

That's an extraordinarily stupid thing to say in light of the fact that the Republican Party was created to end slavery, which naturally meant specifically the slavery of African Americans in the USA. Some "conservative" that is.

It would be equally accurate to say that Leftists are the only people who can look at the history of the USA and only see institutional racism. It's pretty much the Democrat Party's go to strategy for the last 40 years.

And that's before we take a cold, hard look at the racist fuckwittery of the Left over the last century plus.

Anonymous said...

Just read PM's link which obviously you haven't..I have refined it a bit.

It comes under the "bloody hell, I did not that" label.

https://twitter.com/ericabuddington/status/1266531249914601472

Read it and educate yourself.

Petrie Dish

Tom Hunter said...

Anonymous Snowflake said...
Stop providing Tommy with facts and evidence, He lived in middle-class Chicago for 20 minutes.....


Yeah! I should rely on historical facts and evidence from one-eyed, Leftist, American hating bigots like Snowflake and his good friend "Erica B's" unending tale of opression and how it can never be fixed so keep voting Democrat or further Left if you have the choice.

LIke maybe Bernie and AOC? That'll fix it!

What's next, the never-ending tale of Irish oppression, or the claim that all was forgiven of them by the White Supremacists when the Irish started beating on Black heads in the 1864 Draft riots.

Tom Hunter said...

I mean one of the jokes here is that these riots started in one of the Deepest Blue states and cities in the USA.

A state and city dominated by Democrats. And not the sort of Democrats that ruled the Confederacy, but the sort that mouth all the Snowflakisms and Pyschoisms of modern Left politics that you can imagine.

The kingdom of Minnesota Nice.

And yet still they've been unable to cure racism in their main city's Police Force.

Staggeringly non-understandable.

Assuming you're a Lefty.

Snowflake said...

All that demonstrates is how deeply ingrained racism is in American society, as does all the evidence presented, which I note you have been unable to refute. Hence you’re resorting to mindless name calling (you hate Merka waaaah) and falling back on the ludicrous assertion that it’s not a conservative thing as Lincoln was a Republican. It’s been a while if that’s the most recent example of GOP decency you can produce. What. A. Wanker.

Tom Hunter said...

All that demonstrates is how deeply ingrained racism is in American society,

I guess you missed that part where I stated that

There have been too many Black heroes worshipped since then by millions of young white boys for that old White-Black shit to be true except in the most minute spaces.

I notice you haven't tried to argue that such a thing can be possible while "deeply ingrained racism" remains in American society.

Amazing how many Kiwis are pig-ignorant about the USA while still thinking they know its innate characteristics - especially when they're Leftists.

Still, I'm sure that bigotry will emerge in diatribes against NZ and our institutional and ingrained racism as well. It will be just as ignorant and crude and will play worse on the hustings.

Tom Hunter said...

Ha! I just realised that here in the comments we've seen Thomas Piketty's "Brahmin Left” in full flight.

Anne Tiffa said...

Meanwhile, as America burns, Trump stands outside a Church holding up his Little Black Book of Hookers, Lady boys, and Russian Piss Dolls.

Snowflake said...

That’s right, Anne. After first reading the words of Stephen Miller robotically from a teleprompter and having his goons tear gas peaceful protesters in order for him to pose for photos. That’s leadership!

Tommy thinks racism has gone from the US because of 50cent and Michael Jordan. Yes, he really his that naive. Note how he hasn’t addressed any of the facts that refute This simplistic argument by assertion? He did also posit that the fact that Lincoln was a Republican means that conservatives weren’t racist. That’s the best he’s been able to come up with, other than mocking people for using words he had to look up in a dictionary.

Anonymous said...

That's a bit harsh Anne, I know the bible was concocted over 500 years into events that actually never happened and were spun into the narrative that suited the the dominant power of the time.

I think somebody said to Trump "Hold this, it looks cool" Hat's off to the guy, all that tear gas and he never wore a mask.

Rex

Psycho Milt said...

That's an extraordinarily stupid thing to say in light of the fact that the Republican Party was created to end slavery...

It's significant that the less-racist Americans had to form a breakaway party and then spend years fighting a very intense civil war just to be able to end black slavery in the USA, something that was achieved by ordinary political means in other western democracies.

It's also worth noting that neither major party now bears much resemblance to its mid-19th Century equivalents.

Psycho Milt said...

This seems very relevant to the message of the OP (emphasis mine):

In 1919... Groups of armed white men hunted down and slaughtered hundreds of black Americans across the country. The wave of lynchings and race riots came to be known as the Red Summer.

The black community did its best to fight back...

...

The US attorney general, A Mitchell Palmer, claimed that leftwing radicals were behind the uprisings...

...

When African Americans fought back, when they protested, when they made clear they would not quietly accept the destruction of their lives, Palmer mobilized the power of the federal government to brand black unrest as the work of the enemy of the state – communists.


This bullshit about Antifa and "woke" leftists being behind the uprising has a not-very-proud tradition...