If you’re the “educated” sort who fancies himself a cut above those who follow professional athletics come passe-temps, more inclined towards the “civilised” sports of armchair politics and economics as you are, you’ve no doubt encountered, if perhaps even regurgitated, such dishwater as “how much regulation is needed for Bitcoin to succeed,” “how the government can increase revenue,” “what government policy can kickstart the economy,” and similar rhetorical econophasting.i This is perfectly normal, which is to say, stupid on pretty much every level.
What you’re doing, of course, in exactly the same ways and through exactly the same methods and to the exact same ends as those other sports fans you thumb your nose at, is participate in a constructed debate with two platonic cut-outs, both of which are superficially different enough for you to have something to chew on, all while their being fundamentally the same and quite deeply contrived.
News flash : you’re no better than the sports fan. Not really. You get off on the same type of simple-minded mental masturbation where you’re some kind of haloed expert who knows “what there is to know” about a topic just because you just happened to read about it on your smartphone while stuck in morning traffic. You rave about “disruption” without appreciating what that word truly means, genuinely believing that Uber is such a thing.ii You’ve been “taught the controversy” while your pockets get picked.
So no, the truth of the matter is that there’s no “best policy” for a “post-industrial service economy” because such a thing doesn’t exist anymore than elements 113+ on the periodic table exist. Sure, you might be able to see such an “economy” for a pico of a femto of a second, perhaps long enough to name it after yourself for posterity, but such ephemeral entities can’t be meaningfully interacted with anymore than you can interact with your grandfather’s ghost or the broccoli soup you ate last year. What we have before us isn’t post-industrial, it’s post-market, which is to say, it’s a mathematically unsustainable economy stemming from excessive central planning. It’s problems are not those of “advanced” nations who’ve moved “past building an empire founded on the backs of a million billion Untermensch” and mother earth beneath them, it’s problems are those of too much fuckin’ twat diddlin’. That an economy, and therefore a society, could be built any other way than with suckage at the bottom and greatness at the top is a just bit far-fetched. And no amount of social studies revisionist history can change this.
The “best policy” therefore isn’t to start a worldwide not-for-profit conference tour to “raise awareness,” it’s to ignore the pontificating and, if possible – and I grant that it’s not always, not for most people extant – do something productive. Being productive, however, requires that there be incentive to do so. This entails reward, which is then offset by risk in those little olde social experiments called “markets.” Now markets – properly open ones, not just “regulated markets that favour leviathan companies who’re functionally indistinguishable from the state” – are a largely foreign concept to citizens of western socialist nations, accustomed as they are to paper profits, watery lattes,iii and being “busy.” In such environments, productivity is choked to within an inch of its life in the name of “fairness.”
This situation, wherein people without any knowledge or understanding of economics are elected into public office by people with very similar levels of cluelessness, will inevitably drive itself off of a financial cliff that “no one could’ve predicted.” This is what we’re seeing right now.iv This is what’s in store for the nouveau regime.
Trying to steer an economy is appealing to the emotionally-driven – which is to say, scared – “community,” but it’s also the surest way to disaster. The unintended consequences that must inevitably result from working towards purposes instead of working from causes guarantees that centrally planned states will not only cause untold harm, but also break spectacularly. The 20th century is littered with a fair few examples of this and the 21st century will surely add a few more to the list of “this is why you should know better.” By the 22nd century, if not before,v and assuming we can get computers to cooperate, markets should be once again at the forefront of the world economy.
Only then will we be able to get some proper chocolate. And some proper service.
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- What philosophasting is to philosophising. [↩]
- You probably also fuss about how the government should balance its budget – even when isn’t not your problem – even when it should just fucking do it. I mean what good is a representative democracy if you it can’t delegate such basic economic discussions from citizens to politicians ? If you can’t delegate that, it’s hard to see the point of democratic elections at all.
Further to this point, when every citizen is allowed to have a say on budgetary matters, this opens the door to the lowest common denominator to have a disproportionate voice in affairs of import. As such, how could the government possibly cut programs when it can just raise taxes on the outnumbered productive class, or devalue the currency, to compensate for its general mismanagement ? [↩]
- “Hey you guise, I have an idea ! Let’s have an entire economy of people cutting each other’s hair, drinking lattes, and walking our dogs ! It’ll be sooper-sustainable(tm) and not at all degrading because we’ll be all meta instead of baristas !” [↩]
- Which brings us to #b-a, where the conversations go deeper than all but Jove can handle (quod licet iovi, non licet bovi, and whatnot.) Earlier, on the back of a discussion about shitty chocolate :
mircea_popescu: The problem with command economies is that there’s no market.
ben_vulpes: It’s just a new milking.
mircea_popescu: Cadbury produces for ^H^H^H at the government’s pleasure. It will make brown polyester almonds if that’s what gets it the sweet sweet QE paper.
mircea_popescu: Pharma sells to doctors, and is paid by government. Cadbury sells to “institutions” aka govt agencies, and is paid by same way.
pete_dushenski: Aha. The government being a customer but not ‘a customer’ means that it doesn’t care about quality in the same way, just quantity, which ties back into the earlier discussion about inflation being 15%, not 3%.
mircea_popescu: It cares about what the junseth dude was talking about. http://log.bitcoin-assets.com/?date=04-04-2015#1087623
assbot: Logged on 04-04-2015 01:41:41; junseth: RE: college, it’s not a fair metric. College inflation is largely a lie. The college I went to cost $45k/year. I paid $3k per year because the number they make you pay and the sticker price are completely different.
mircea_popescu: Ie, “fair metrics”. if it can be called chocolate so they tick off whatever thing in some paperwork. “Chocolate delivered to troops fighting in Eurasia.” It can be made out of thinned out air for all they care.
pete_dushenski: As long as the press release says “happy troops appreciate reminders of home,” which they do, and since it’s been so long since they’ve had anything resembling chocolate, the imitation stuff works.
mircea_popescu: None of this being in any sense a market. Heck, the solution of renaming the homeless to “Solve” “The Homeless Problem” is exactly cosubstantial with how command economies “Solve Problems”. “We have 500 people and 200 fish” “Cut fish open, insert 2.5x time their weight of dirt, sew back together.” As long as we’re ticking off words off wordlists we might not even bother with the industry at all. sit all day in Starbucks and derp about “technologee,” which is what’s happening exactly.
pete_dushenski: This is ‘the service economy,’ or ‘post-industrial,’ in a nutshell that’s made from lab-modified nuts.
mircea_popescu: What is the market ? Look at all these two bit “serial entrepreneurs” with their constant start-ups. How often is the news item “Previous start-up of X did something” vs “New start-up of X got so many in lolfunding from a) people who wish to be in this press release and b) people he owes money to from the past, and we’re not mentioning that past” ?
cazalla: I live 5 min from an Aussie Cadbury factory, you’d think you’d be able to smell whatever they make there but nothing.
mircea_popescu: The recent derpology wtf was it called perfect example. Lemme fish it out… http://log.bitcoin-assets.com//?date=03-04-2015#1087331 << That thing consists of exactly nothing past the name, there’s no value to be created out of the plan exposed. Much like “bitcoin embassies in Argentina” or the rest of the plowing flies bs.
assbot: Logged on 03-04-2015 22:30:07; jurov: “Erik Voorhees as Founder of ShapeShift, announces seed round with Barry Silbert, Roger Ver” further down
mircea_popescu: Meanwhile, Silbert is a guy who wants to get his name associated with the space, Ver is a meanwhile broke dude who imagines that if he keeps being mentioned he stays relevant, as if, and Voorhees just wants to keep his name in the press lest people forget. Well, not the sort of people liable to go “Hey, what ever became of the Coinapult / Feedzebirds / whatervs”. Ethereum through and through “technologees” you can’t even short because nobody actually bought. Because no actual market, because no actual anything there.
pete_dushenski: And now the ‘crowdfunding’ cap is 50 mn bezzlars because the command economy doesn’t do nickels and dimes worth a shit.
mircea_popescu: So… yeah k, markets are efficient. Anglosphere hasn’t seen a market in many decades, if indeed it did this century. And amusingly, this is a very indicative symptom of the problem. If “inflation didn’t exist” and all this created value, people would care as much about 10 bucks now as 50 years ago. Hey, it’s a lunch. But THAT is the true measure of inflation : what VCs find “not worth their time”. Back when this shit was starting, late 70s/early 80s, a VC partner needed to keep an eye on about 500k – 1mn worth of equity. By now, 50mn is really too low, 100mn more like it. That is (AGAIN!!!) 100x. Goes splendidly with the 100x I extracted from real estate and the 100x I extracted from education. And it would go exactly with the exact same 100x you’d get looking at health care. Fact is, for the past half century, inflation was about 10`000% total. That’s a little over 20% per annum.
pete_dushenski: So if your investments aren’t yielding 20%… you’re getting assfucked.
mircea_popescu: No. not at all. If your investments aren’t yielding 20% WHILE YOUR POLITICAL CLOUT IS YIELDING 20%!!! if you don’t get 100 senators for every senator you had in 1965, you’re behind. conceivably you have to make well over 50% per year to keep up with the bureaucracy inflation that always doubles paper money inflation in a command economy.
pete_dushenski: That sounds… tricky. To yield 50%+ that is. Buffett did what, 15% per annum over that period.
mircea_popescu: Which is why (in another, financial-based formulation) the whole shebang’s approaching event horizon. Specifically because math is math, and the thing can’t even keep up with itself. Yeah, Buffett is a success story in the sense that he managed, with skill and persistence, to get fleeced LESS than anyone else. Part of this is his complete neglect of investing in politics, which is why as a senile old man he’s writing blanket checks to the government. “I support America because if i didn’t, you’d just take it all anyway like Putin took X’s. I’m no Soros.”
pete_dushenski: Whereas Soros flew the coop ? Or just diversified out of Hungary or w/e ?
mircea_popescu: Well, one can maintain an independent position. (IIRC he’s still wanted on “tax evasion”, which is pretty much the highest accolade of personal achievement the empire can bestow on any free individual.)
pete_dushenski: ‘Iron cross.’
- If Bitcoin has anything to say about it, the world will be properly shaken up in, say, 20 years. [↩]