In the long run, however, capitalism is hard to corral. For one, social democracy doesn’t seem to be a sustainable fix. The golden age of the Western welfare state —roughly 1945 to 1973—looks in retrospect to have been a freak accident of history. It rested, as Thomas Piketty has argued, on a number of special conditions unlikely to be repeated. Moreover, capital is elusive, global, and decentralized, while political sovereignty remains tied to bounded territorial units. Perhaps most deadly of all, capitalism is fast, while democratic deliberation is slow. The market generates new realities before we’ve even had time to agree on what to do about the old, and this trend intensifies exponentially (or hyperbolically) at higher levels of technological development. (…)
If, as labor economists argue, forty-seven percent of American employment could soon be automated, Land’s authoritarianism looks more like a convincing account of what will be needed to preserve capitalism rather than doe-eyed paeans to the sharing economy. (…)
Nick Land, like Moldbug and many other neoreactionaries, typically shuns the term “fascist.” Admittedly, they have some good reasons to do so: despite NRx racism and authoritarianism, its political economy is closer to Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore than Hitler’s Reich. Yet there’s a problem. Land is an elitist, more loyal to IQ than ethnicity, and with a marked contempt for the “inarticulate proles” of neoreaction’s white nationalist wing. But Land himself notes that it’s precisely these “proles” that make up most of the actual “reactosphere,” and that “if reaction ever became a popular movement, its few slender threads of bourgeois (or perhaps dreamily ‘aristocratic’) civility wouldn’t hold back the beast for long.”
It’s entirely possible that reaction never does become a popular movement—a new economic boom, for one, would do a lot to soothe the disaffection on which it feeds—yet if it were to grow, the proposed alliance of convenience between the tech elite and an intransigent white identity politics begins to look a lot like the Nazi coalition of German industrialists and a downwardly-mobile middle class.
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The amount of internet freedom we have right now is the most we’re ever going to get.
If our lives are a movie, this is the point where the future audience is shouting at the screen, “For God’s sake, load up on as much porn and gore and medical advice, and blogs and film and TV and everything as you possibly can! It’s not going to last much longer!”
And it isn’t.