Startup Cities

Michael Anissimov is no friend of Neocameralism, but he’s got a good sense for the kind of things we like:

Here‘s a good introduction.

Here‘s Paul Romer on Charter Cities (video), the more institutionally-respectable predecessor conception (or perhaps the same conception, with a more established brand).

The Startup Cities blog promotes China’s Special Economic Zones as a model of success.

Quotable (#25)

Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk introduces the concept of roundabout production in The Positive Theory of Capital (1889), Book I, Chapter II (The Nature of Capital):

The end and aim of all production is the making of things with which to satisfy our wants; that is to say, the making of goods for immediate consumption, or Consumption Goods. The method of their production we have already looked at in a general way. We combine our own natural powers and natural powers of the external world in such a way that, under natural law, the desired material good must come into existence. But this is a very general description indeed of the matter, and looking at it closer there comes in sight an important distinction which we have not as yet considered. It has reference to the distance which lies between the expenditure of human labour in the combined production and the appearance of the desired good. We either put forth our labour just before the goal is reached, or we, intentionally, take a roundabout way. That is to say, we may put forth our labour in such a way that it at once completes the circle of conditions necessary for the emergence of the desired good, and thus the existence of the good immediately follows the expenditure of the labour; or we may associate our labour first with the more remote causes of the good, with the object of obtaining, not the desired good itself, but a proximate cause of the good; which cause, again, must be associated with other suitable materials and powers, till, finally, — perhaps through a considerable number of intermediate members, — the finished good, the instrument of human satisfaction, is obtained.

If not quite the Alpha and Omega of economic intelligence, this is the closest thing we have to it. Time-structure of production, origin and primordial definition of capital, techonomic integrity, and teleological subversion are all contained here in embryo.

Omega Capitalism

Whatever the problems of ‘neoliberalism‘ as an ideologicalhistorical category, and they are considerable, ‘late capitalism‘ is vastly worse. It’s unlikely that anyone is truly taking it seriously. The conceptual content can be compressed without loss to “we’ve had enough!” It’s pure expressionism from the communist id.

If the end of capitalism is what you want, then first examine the end of capitalism. That’s what Robin Hanson does, even if he doesn’t make sense of the speculation in such terms.

The Iron Law of Wages was fully implicit in Malthus, given economic form by Ricardo, then politicized by Lassalle, and by Marx (as “the reserve army of labor”). Setting the ‘natural’ exchange value of labor within an unconstrained market-industrial order at the level of bare subsistence, it provides the materialist principle of revolutionary expectation within the tradition of ‘scientific socialism’ — and all attempts to replace it have only underscored its indispensable function. The phased disintegration of this Law, as its object migrated from the Western proletariat through peripheral labor forces to eventual diffusion among culturally-exotic unproductive marginals, has almost perfectly tracked the dissolution of revolutionary Marxism as a whole. A materialist critique of capital has no other realistic source of political-economic leverage, as it is slowly and painfully discovering.

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Twitter cuts (#6)

A self-referential cry for help (in case anyone out there has some philosophical house-breaking skills):

War Without End

‘Eurasianist’ Alexander Dugin interviewed by (liberal) Vladimir Posner on the fundamental structure of global geopolitical antagonism. (Video, in Russian with English subtitles.)

While he is clearly the sort of person who tends to bring my co-ethnics out in hives, Dugin is without question among the most important thinkers of the new millennium. (The UF position on this, beyond simple interest in what might very easily be the most dynamic ideological development of our time, is close to inverted, or ‘Atlantean’, Eurasianism.)

Phase Change (+1)

The Credit Suisse Research Institute forecasts that by 2030 the Chinese capital market will have risen to become the second largest in the world (overtaking Japan). Business Insider reports:

In a new report entitled “Emerging Capital Markets: The Road to 2030,” the Institute estimates China’s equity market capitalization will grow 15.6 percent a year to reach $53.6 trillion between now and 2030, a thirteen-fold increase from today’s levels. It sees similar growth in the corporate bond market, to $31.9 trillion (an eleven-fold increase), as well as the sovereign bond market, to $12.3 trillion (eight-fold). In that event, China would be second only to the U.S. in each of the three major asset classes. What’s more, the country could also account for 55 percent of all emerging market debt underwriting fees and 70 percent of equity fees between now and then – a total of some $159 billion. “There is no way around it: China is the most important place for the development of capital markets,” says Markus Stierli, Head of Fundamental Micro Themes in Credit Suisse’s Private Banking and Wealth Management division. “It’s the place everyone’s watching.”

Complex Systems

The New York Times, takes an unusually sophisticated look at the current state of world disorder. In doing so, it explains why the process of drawing down American global hegemony — while probably unavoidable — is more perilous than it might seem:

Rarely has a president been confronted with so many seemingly disparate foreign policy crises all at once — in Ukraine, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere — but making the current upheaval more complicated for Mr. Obama is the seemingly interlocking nature of them all. […] “It’s a very tangled mess,” said Gary Samore, a former national security aide to Mr. Obama and now president of United Against Nuclear Iran, an advocacy group. “You name it, the world is aflame. …

Complex systems are real individuals, not generic types, and when they get poked, they react like an ultimately incomparable cyber-meshed singularity, which is to say — excitedly. To assume general rules in such cases is to set oneself up for serial, escalating shocks. The realistic question that will eventually demand to be asked: What is the thing we are dealing with?