writings on math, logic, philosophy and art

capitalism shorts

Elon and capitalism

People who read the Economist seem to be the embodiment of middle classs folks, who see themselves as “temporary-challenged billionaires” who deserve to be rich because they are smarter than everyone else. Like, they believe than one day Elon will come and appoint them as CEO, like a 14-year old who learns to play a guitar and thinks they’ll be Jimmie Hendix.

By the way, the way Elon acts provides for me an irrefutable, proof that capitalism is dead — if the world’s richest person cannot just use their money to enjoy themselves and instead prefers to continually make a fool of themself and be ridiculed by the whole world on a daily basis, then what’s the point of it all?

Services

I talked about the service market being a scam. So why are services so popular. IMO it is not because people don’t have time to do things themselves, but because they lack mental capacity to do it e.g. people don’t order food because they don’t have time to prepare it themselves (we have better technology for preparing food than ever), they just don’t want to think about one more thing. Same for online services like Netflix and Spotify — it’s not that we don’t have time to download our music and movies any more (if you are using Netflix you have at least one spare hour each day), we just don’t want to be bothered, which is sad, as it is making us more and more dependent on these services.

People are increasingly incapable of doing anything other than their “job” and the jobs themselves are increasingly dumber, due to the fact that they would have to service clients who are getting increasingly dumber — “My job is to deal with idiots” rings truer and truer.

And this situation hurts our social life as well, I am old enough to remember when friends got together to do stuff together — we used to cook together, fix stuff together, hack stuff together, assemble furniture, or just carry some heavy crates from A to B. Before that we did farming and a gazzilion other fun activities Now it seems that we “outsourced” these in order to just do nothing.

Why am I radical

People that know me from before are baffled as to why I have become so radical politically, but actually the reason is perfectly logical: when the current state of affairs is so bad, you start to be more and more tolerating towards alternatives.

Noone can convince me that today’s distopia can be turned to utopia with just a few small adjustments.

If you are so sick that you are about to die, you should be willing to try any medicine with some chance to get you better, no matter the side effects.

On going back to the office

Some CEO’s demand that workers go back to the office because they are more productive there. A couple of points from me.

  1. You can measure productivity in a precise way only in some mindless repetitive jobs e.g. are Twitter employees more productive now that they are in the office. How do you measure that (if you measure it in profits, app quality etc. I’d say that they are much less productive)

  2. Each person is different. I may be 10% more productive at home than in the office, and my coworker may be 20% less productive. Why do I have to be in the office because of some stupid statistic?

  3. Fine, let’s say people who work at home have lower productivity. But working from home enables you to hire people from all over the world as well as people who cannot go to the office for various other reasons. I’m not a big tech CEO, but somehow it seems to me that the best candidate in the world, working at 90% of their capacity will still perform better than the best candidate who happens to live in your city and is willing to travel.

  4. Working from home is also linked to a better well-being, which means less turnover, better working environment etc.

  5. Most importantly: the fucking planet is dying, because of carbon emissions and you want to just dismiss the obvious and already implemented solution for reducing those by letting people not travel to work, just because of some 10% profit increase.

Wealth and skill

Why are today’s leading spiritual teachers be billionaires? I know people who know more about how to live a happy and fulfilled life than e.g. Naval, and most of them are broke.

Money simply does not play a part in your spiritual enlightenment, there may be some folks who are both enlightened and rich, but statistically most of them would not be rich.

And that’s valid for all skills - if you are only learning from successful (rich) people you are missing out big time.

e.g. one of the best software developers I know is just a guy who works as a regular developer in a regular software firm. He cannot/does not want to manage anyone.

e.g. the best bike mechanic I know runs bike shop, that is only a moderately-popular (unfriendly location, and no marketing, except word-of-mouth)

e.g. just went to work out in the park, and started talking to an old guy who gave me some very good advice - turned out he was a former professional athlete.

Mayday

  • Hey, Captain is it just me, or is the airplane headed straight to this huge volcanic crater, full of hot lava?
  • Yup, we will likely be all dead in a minute!
  • OK, so will you try to maybe, you know, alter our course?
  • I won’t, because that didn’t work out when the Russians tried doing it the 1940s.

The course leading to drowning in lava might not be a good course, but it is the best one out there!

On the law of diminishing returns

Reading a book on simple living and thinking the following - what if diminishing returns just occur at a much smaller scale than economic textbooks tell us? What if working in teams of 1-6 people is the most optimal mode of production, (although huge corporations with marketing and PR departments are obviously capable of selling us more products). What would be the implications?

When I say “most optimal” I mean that it brings the most value to people. Unfortunately this cannot be measured and put in concrete terms as “value” is too abstract concept to be used as a metric. Profit, on the other hand is simple to measure, however, it is the wrong metric.

When you measure the value of a given transaction by profit, you only measure the effect it has on the people who actually acquire that profit. You don’t measure the effect on neither the workers (who aren’t shareholders), nor the consumers.

So, for example a corporation that manufactures a very low-quality product with slave-like labor would do very well, if you are only looking at the spreadsheets - low expenses, high worker productivity, massive profit etc. But if we try to measure the (negative) value that this company brings to the people who work for it - their health and financial situation or the negative value that it brings to the consumers, who get something manufactured by someone who doesn’t look after their interests.

If we take these groups into account, then a small business venture that is owned by the people who work in it brings much more value than a big corporation. Bonus points if they produce stuff for themselves. In this case instead of having three groups (shareholders, workers, consumers) and an organization that serves just one of these groups (not to mention it is often the smallest one), you have just one group that looks after it’s own interests, e.g. even if twitter makes more profit than mastodon (although twitter is losing and Mastodon has no profit cause it is not a corporation), I argue that the value that masto brings to its users (consisting of information free of ads and hates peech) as well as the value it brings to the people involved in its development is far greater than the value twitter brings to its users and employees.

Everything

“I have everything but I am still not happy.”

Well, that’s because you don’t have everything, you have just money (and things that you can buy with it)

You don’t have a job that satisfies you while letting you retain your piece of mind.

You don’t have quality relationships with people who will be there for you, even if you are broke.

You don’t have material objects that fulfill your needs without having maintenance costs that make you dependent on corporations that you don’t want to depend on.

Or maybe you understand that you need all these things, but you are thought that you need them in addition to being rich.

Or that you want to make money first and then concentrate on everything else.

Both of these are dead ends. Act now to attain what you want. Directly.

Why, cause “character is faith,” as Heraclitus says. The saying is more literal than it seems:

Pursuing your goals is not merely a prerequisite to getting the results you want. If you look at it from the grand scale, goals are themselves results - pursuing the goal to be good (“good” both as a person or good at some specific skill) is the same thing as being good.

By the same token, pursuing a goal as obtuse and meaningless as money makes you an obtuse and meaningless person.

e.g. a person who is sorry for whatever bad thing they have done and wants to be a good person already is a good person, better than a billionaire who donates 10% of this fortune to charity.

10-year-old-kid who has set their mind to become a great pianist is a great pianist, better than anyone who merely plays just for the money.

Art under capitalism

When an artist stops experimenting and settles for a specific type of content and aesthetics, critics say that it is because they “matured” and “found their voice”, “developed a unique style” etc.

AFAIK, in most cases it’s because they lost their inspiration, became lazy, and decided to only do low effort remixes if the project that sells best.

And the reason why critics (both professional and self-proclaimed) and regular consumers like settled artists so much is because it make THEIR job easier - why get into a new thing every time and wonder how to react, when you could be just reading variations of the same old thing over and over again.

Art under capitalism is a commodity like everything else and so the most valuable pieces are most expensive, however, as value in art is relative, this principle works the other way around - the most expensive pieces are most valuable i.e. the rich determine the criteria for what’s beautiful and ugly.

This undermines art, reducing it to just another form of entertainment for the elite, and marginalizing all artists who want to be something different than that.

The best thing a creative person can hope for, is to be like Stephen King - be so famous that a capitalist would consider your opinion when making their (his) business strategy.

Sick

It is not so much that capitalism leads to an epidemic of mental illness, it is more that there are many conditions, many people that are so incompatible with capitalism that making them comply will cause the system to lose any human face. We are categorized as sick, because else the system would have to be categorized as such.

And it gets even worse if you try playing the game, and accept the system, as identifying yourself with your “success” and the idea that your worth derives only from what you produce causes so much stress, that it can break your psyche.

Not a psychologist, but I see this happening all the time:

  1. People start to derive their self-esteem from their job.
  2. They put so much effort into being better at it, as it is the only way for them to feel better that their burn out.
  3. Later, they start losing some of their capability (either from burning out or from just getting old), and their entire ego is broken, as a result.

Questions I ask myself before buying something

What’s the purpose of this item?

Do I really need for an item which serves that purpose? How would it benefit me?

Do I already own something that can be repurposed/fixed/made to serve the same purpose?

Can I borrow such thing from a friend who does not need it?

Who is selling this item and do I want to endorse them by buying it from them?

In what ways does the item make me dependent in therms of fixes, supplies, energy consumed etc. On whom?

Do I really need that item right now, or can I can buy it later so I have more time to consider the above?

Capitalism and innovation

Hard to defend the thesis that capitalism promotes innovation, when the main social discourse surrounding any innovation is how to deal with the people who would lose their jobs because of it.

Realize how ridiculous this looks in the grand schema of things: someone comes up with marvelous new technology that solves all your issues and your first reaction as a society is “but what would the people who used to work on that issue do for a living?”

What is capitalism about

And to think that people are fooled that capitalism is all about, hard work, entrepreneurship etc. Capitalism is about capital, folks - it’s there in the name.

Authority and christianity

I was thinking that Plato allegedly said that ignorance is the only sin and if it’s possible that he said that, since the concept of a sin came later in history and I suddenly realized that the concept of a sin is pure BS Like “There is this thing that you would really like to do but you should not do it because it is wrong (and God will punish you), so you should never ever do it and you should beat yourself (literary) when you go as far as to think about it.”

That’s like saying “you’re guilty until proven innocent, and you will never be innocent. All you can do is pray to us to relieve your pain.”

The doctrine of the world’s major religion is just totalitarian propaganda, thinly disguised as advice/prophecy.

Like, if you take the fable about Adam and Eve and the apple. What does the apple represent? Sex? Knowledge? Or most probably just opposition to authority. Not clear what was God’s purpose with putting the tree there. All we understand is that if we do wrong we will be punished and we already did wrong…

Servants

In society under capitalism nowadays, there is a third class between workers and the masters which is instrumental to keeping the regime working. It is the financially prospering, but emotionally and ideologically bankrupt middle class or servants, as we can also call them — people who have “succeeded” (managed to educate themselves and get a well-paid job) but have completely stripped themselves of their identity in order to do so, and are trapped by their fear to be thrown downwards and their inability to move upwards.

Servants cannot have solidarity for their masters, because they know even more than everyone what the masters are.

And they cannot have solidarity with the workers, out of vanity and out of fear that they will be punished for their opinions and thrown in the working class.

They even cannot have solidarity between themselves, as they realize their role as maintainers of the process that is keeping them in this crooked position.

Some brainwash themselves into thinking that they are actually part of the working class - you know, people who stay at the office all their life and glorify what they do. At the same time they are somehow always broke, although they make more than enough to subsist.

Or some brainwash themselves to think that they are the masters, or they will become masters any minute now. These are the people who glorify how good the system is, and how everyone can succeed (Elon Musk fanboys)

And some realize the pointlessness of their position and they just spend their life getting high, and trying to “cheat the system” to get more for less.

What unites all three groups is that they are morally broke and just frantically seeking for a way to justify what they do and what they are.

Social scientists say that a healthy society should have a “strong middle class”. But how can the middle class be strong? It cannot be strong financially because their earnings would always reach a glass ceiling and huge earnings drive you out of the middle class. It cannot be strong politically, because they have a lot to lose - a political stance would make you lose your spot in the middle class in the worse way). They can be numerous, but not strong.

On luxury goods

You buy a car from the store - the price is 30 000 EUR, let’s say.

You want to sell it immediately afterwards - the price is 25 000 EUR.

A new facelift hits the market (so the same car but with a different headlight design) - the price is 20 000.

Where did that 10 000 go?

My response - almost all goods that exist today are some version of luxury goods — ones which you buy just for the experience of buying something expensive - non-luxury goods don’t lose their value after they are sold e.g. Ikea furniture is the same price second hand, a piece of expensive hand-made furniture also. But almost all other furniture is at the luxury class.

There are even classes of goods, such as cars, for which all models are luxury.

The fairy tale and reality

The fairy tale: capitalism works because motivated by money and by money only and capitalism provides them with opportunities to make more of it.

The truth: capitalism “works” by enabling people in power to exploit the rest of them, but this is justified because they generate massive amounts of wealth, which is all that matters if you believe the fairy tale.

To break free from capitalism, you have to break free from the fairy tale. Is money really so important? Would you spend your days in toxic environment for money? Would you ignore your friends and family for money? Would you sacrifice your health for money? Or the health of the planet?

The fact is that many people do these things and this fact has been used as proof that money is indeed the most important thing for most people.

But that’s nonsense. People don’t do bad things for money because they are evil, or extremely materialistic by nature, they do them because they are hostages to the system, because the belief in the fairy tale made a society where money is equal to life itself.

Those are both poor and rich people that I am talking about. Both people who have no other options and people who do have them but don’t realize it. But they all have something in common - if they stop believing the fairy tale, they would be outcasts, they would have a hard time adapting to society, they (we) will not be sure what to do with their lives.

Statistics that indicate the well-being of people in a nation:

  • Life expectancy
  • Access to health care
  • Literacy
  • Percentage of people that own their own homes

Statistics that are most often displayed in the media:

  • GDP
  • GDP per capita
  • Economic growth

The fairy tale says that boosting the ones from below would inevitably result in boosting the ones from above. But is this really the case?

Ruling countries and corporations

Most people agree that countries are ruled in a democratic fashion with the right to vote etc. but at the same time they think that corporations are better off as dictatorships where most people are depraved of any rights.

On nazism

Nazism is a delusion where (a part of) the establishment is made to believe that they are the minority and that all their problems are caused by some other group of people, which they deem as the new establishment. Bonus point if that group of people are actually very weak, small and vulnerable.

This delusion causes the establishment to expect to solve their problems by repressing this group, and to repress it even more when their problems are not solved, leading to a feedback loop.

Example: Hitler came to power by putting forward the conspiracy theory the Jews are solely responsible for all of Germany’s issues [1] and that repressing them would solve them. And so when repressions didn’t do lead to any improvement (jews were less than 1% of the population[2]) all he could do in order not to expose himself as a fraud was to repress them even more.

Now I am seeing the same thing with the so called attack on “wokeism” America, in particular with the attack of the trans community - Elon and co are getting deeper and deeper in their version of the same delusion/conspiracy theory according to which, one of the smallest and most vulnerable communities is actually in charge of everything e.g. they are able to “cancel” anyone that they don’t like, which is perceived as dangerous (when in reality cancelling someone is just expressing their opinion).

This definition of nazism clearly shows the contrast between nazism is from socialism/communism and shows why Hitler can never be deemed a socialist, even if nazism stands for “nationalsocialism” - socialism is all about helping repressed groups and empowering them, while nazism, on the contrary, is all about repressing such groups to the fullest.

It is no coincidence that in both instances which I mentioned in the prev post, the group that is deemed as evil has to do with the political left.

PS I don’t understand how this delusion justifies itself… i.e. all nazis and capitalists are so fucking scared of socialists? They deem them weak, unworthy, stupid, crazy etc. but at the same time they dedicate spare no resource in trying to destroy them in every way possible. How can a group that is so weak do so much damage

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