And older post: Red Fortyeight group: revolution 101, gedanken experiments //West Wing and economic planning
The gist of Last and First Men can be taken as a gedanken experiment (please be wary here of active intent, I need hard remind radicals) as a stage toward an active movement. People are too paralyzed with inertia to do anything else, for a start. The odds seem overwhelming against any kind of revolutionary movement. We can’t even figure out which movements (especially in the war on terror) aren’t really seeded by covert agencies. But this situation leaves the groundwork needed to the future, when it will be too late.
I have made the case that marxism is slightly dated, and the way its core can be salvaged very easily. People will simply not deal with marxism until its core is translated into a new canon.
What we need to do in this early phase is to create a viable perspective on communism, marxism, scientism, religion and secularism, the nature of modernity, and much else. A prime task is to put marginalist economics under the microscope and produce some versions that people can study with or without mathematics: the nature of the capitalist con game is unknown even to most marxists because they are in the nineteenth century.
The approach of LFM is a bit odd for many but it shows how one can deal with evolutionary theories, historical dynamics and ‘end of history’ issues, the nature of revolution in the early modern, and the way in which a challenge to capitalism was embedded in modernity even before the industrial revolution. This approach has all the advantages of a high powered theory, but without the fragile theory.
The dynamics of the ‘macro’ effect in world history shows how the modern transition creates a clear slot for a revolutionary movement without the details being given in advance. And then as a parting shot the modern transition concludes with a dual capitalist/communist dual exit game. We need to see that capitalism has no teleological future. It will go on and on and destroy the planet without blinking and finally degenerate into the absurdities we see in the previous post with the privatization of prisons. We are in danger of dangerous delay and the result will be a heartbreaking moment of absolute authoritarian power given to the Ayn Rand mindset. At that point an elite class far more frightening than anything in the medieval lords and ladies world will have almost total control, and gosh knows that the neuroscience revolution will cook up. Downton Abbey apotheosis, upstairs/downstairs made real. Yeah, you thought those movies were nothing but PBS entertainment.
One good gedanken experiment is whether the dynamics of computer tech acceleration, Moore’s Lae will allow the equivalent of old-style economic planning in a space the size of the West Wing. Very soon this will be more than mere speculation after the fashion of Toward a New Socialism, with its discussion of this question in terms of 1970’s computers. The mainframes of that era can now put their software on laptops. This is a symbolic question, to be sure, but the point is dawning that capitalism has to be dealt with: our choices are dwindling.