The digital realm, which made the National Intranet and the World Wide Web (WWW) entertainable, was realized by humanity tapping into the Noösphere. This phenomenon was first achieved not during the 1990s but during the 1940s, when the entirety of Western Civilization had dragged itself and the rest of humanity into the cauldron of the Second World War. The information technologies that helped develop the digital realm grew up alongside the nuclear technologies that achieved nuclear weapons and nuclear energy during that same period. It is significant that America and the Soviet Union were pioneers in nuclear weapons and cyberweapons development. The People’s Republic of China would gradually join their arms races under the “Great Helmsman,” Chairman Mao Zedong.
With the digital realm forming the basis behind Computer Science, Programming and Engineering, it should be mentioned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation also stem from the same discipline as those three fields. This discipline formed the basis for the Economic Calculation Problem and the Political Organization Problem insofar as both cannot be envisaged without Phenomenology, the philosophical study of human experiences and perceptions. In fact, there are certain passages in both The Road to Serfdom and Der Arbeiter, where von Hayek and Junger were arriving at the issue of “Cybernetics” from very different perspectives and arriving at very different conclusions.
What is Cybernetics and what does it have to do with Automation and AI? Cybernetics refers to a broad discipline studying the theory of communications and control within mechanical, biological and social systems. The name itself comes from an analogy chosen by Norbert Wiener to describe the discipline, which is the steering of a ship by her helmsman. The analogy was derived from Plato comparing the helmsman’s role of steering a ship to that of governance. The Platonic “Philosopher King” rules his Ancient Greek City-State through a combination of philosophical knowledge and political statecraft. The etymology behind the name Cybernetics is a fitting one for Computer Science and Political Science.
The basic theory behind Cybernetics is a causal one: the introduction of Inputs to yield desired Outputs. Inputs trigger a Sensor to cause a Controller to produce a predetermined series of Outputs. A Feedback is employed to inform the observer about the produced result. To give an example:
A machine prompts me to issue a command. I issue that command as an Input, the Input itself triggering a Sensor, which causes the Controller to respond to my command by producing an Output. When producing the Output, the Controller is given a binary choice of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, ‘1’ or ‘0’. Either the machine complies with my command or the machine does not comply for whatever Intent. Whichever choice the machine makes, the Feedback will be relaying the results of the Output to me, the person who originally issued the command.
It is in this specific process where we encounter the basic logic behind how computer software, automated systems, and even AI programs operate. Cybernetics stipulates that digital and automated machines are designed to perform a predetermined series of executable commands when prompted. The machinery cannot, unless programmed to do so, combine a 1 and another 1 to yield a 2 or deduct a 1 from another 1 to yield a 0. When people become amazed by an AI program achieving something that was never possible, always remember that the program itself is still operating within the parameters set by its developer.
There are some obvious implications associated with Cybernetics, some of which have already been explored in some detail in The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) and The Third Place (1st Ed.). Repetitive, monotonous tasks previously done by people can be taken over by machines, allowing the same people to perform other tasks that are far more worthy of their Life-Energy. Mechanical and analog machinery cooperate with the executable programs of digital and automated machinery, both of which are to be brought under the Command and Obedience of the Arbeiter. The Figure of the Arbeiter has the technical skills, philosophical knowledge, economic discipline, and political statecraft to preside over the State of Total Mobilization. The Arbeiter cannot be a Bourgeois; the Bourgeois prefers to retreat from the State of Total Mobilization in favor of the State of Natural Rights.
After writing “Total Mobilization” and Der Arbeiter, Ernst Jünger’s interest in Cybernetics continued to persist in later works. His brother, Friedrich Georg, would later write Die Perfektion der Technik (The Perfection of Technology) as a critique of Technology’s relation to Arbeit. From an economic standpoint, one could read Friedrich Georg Jünger and come away with criticisms of Keynesianism, Fordism-Taylorism, Utopian Socialism, and Liberal Capitalist conceptions of Technology.
In Economics, it is often assumed that Technology will create newfound sources of wealth and economic growth. This is of course the Liberal Capitalist conception of Technology: the elimination of Arbeit in the interests of Kapital. There is a belief that Liberal Capitalist Technology will reduce the amount of Zeit devoted to generating Kapital and Schuld in a Market/Mixed Economy or a Fractional-Reserve Banking System. Friedrich Georg Jünger insisted that Technology on its own cannot decrease the workweek or increase the Quantity of Kapital with the tradeoff of reducing the Quantity of Schuld. In reality, however, Technology only does the opposite: it replaces Meaningful Work with Meaningless Work, from Arbeit of very high Quality to Arbeit of very low Quality. It is precisely here where the Figure of the Arbeiter finds itself in perpetual conflict with Neoliberalism, and where the State of Total Mobilization is trying to overcome the State of Natural Rights.
The Arbeiter seeks to realize its own version of wealth, its own version of economic growth, and therefore its own version of economic freedom. These notions run contrary to the shared paradigm of Production for Profit and Production for Utility. The Liberal Capitalists are expecting the Arbeiter to somehow ‘rationalize’ all production processes in terms of Profit Maximization and Utility Maximization commensurate with Kapital Accumulation. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the Liberal Capitalists, the Arbeiter is the true Philosopher King of Technology and not them.
Their defiance to the dominion of the Arbeiter will ultimately yield growing dysfunctionality, inefficiency, unproductivity and incompetency for all Market/Mixed Economies and Fractional-Reserve Banking Systems. Neoliberalism, rather than consolidating its position in the late 20th century and beyond by enriching Liberal Capitalist Parliamentary Democracies with the Arbeiter’s Technology, has instead found the complete opposite. Tax Rates, Deregulations, Outsourcings, Contractors, Interest Rates, Inflation Rates, Government and Consumer Spending, Loans and LCFIs and so forth will only delay the inevitable. Thus, it becomes peculiar to know that Friedrich von Hayek, after writing The Road to Serfdom, would later develop an obsession with Cybernetics for the duration of his lifetime in the late 20th century. He had to have realized the implications that the Arbeiter and the State of Total Mobilization would have on any nation that willingly or unwillingly adopts Liberal Capitalist Parliamentary Democracy after 1945.
The Financialization of Neoliberal Finance
Liberal Capitalist Technology since 1945 has undergone significant transformations in terms of how they facilitate Profit Maximization and Utility Maximization commensurate with Kapital Accumulation. In its quest to eradicate Arbeit in the interests of Kapital, Liberal Capitalist Technology encountered an increasingly painful realization that emerged in the Death of Bretton Woods. It could no longer produce newfound sources of Kapital, only additional sources of Schuld. This trend coincided with the Deindustrialization of manufactories throughout the Western world thanks to Automation and Globalization being in lockstep with the dubious designation of “Labor Productivity.”
With the Liberal Capitalists have achieved the ability to extract more and more natural resources to create Commodities, finished goods and services, a similar logic of extracting Kapital from known sources was transposed in the digital realm. Financialization helped facilitate that process with the rise of Financial Technology allowing Financial Markets to expand their existing arsenals of LCFIs (Liberal Capitalist Financial Markets), from Derivatives and Stock Buybacks to Cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
In the 19th century, it used to have been that the key to Kapital Accumulation was to generate the most Kapital from manufacturing Commodities, goods and services to be bought and sold at the Market. The Financial Markets, like the broader Fractional-Reserve Banking System, were once interconnected with Market/Mixed Economies. Privatized commercial firms turned to the Financial Markets to offer Stocks and Bonds for interested Investors. LCFIs were once vehicles through which the Investor traded their Kapital for Schuld, the latter of which was to be absolved by the privatized commercial firm with or without Interest. To absolve the Investor of their Schuld, the privatized commercial firm must generate more Kapital than what it needed for all of its operating, maintenance and labor costs.
The Death of Bretton Woods, Financialization, Deindustrialization, Automation and Globalization have all shown that the LCFIs of the Financial Markets (and the Fractional-Reserve Banking Systems by extension) do not need to rely on the Market/Mixed Economies. Thanks to the digital realm, it is now possible to speak of Kapital Accumulation as occurring not from the creation of new sources of Kapital but from the extraction of existing sources of Kapital.
Liberal Capitalist Technology has demonstrated it is not enough for any Market to simply earn Kapital from harvesting Commodities, manufacturing finished goods, or rendering services for Civil Society. To stave off Schuld, Liberal Capitalists between the 1970s and 1990s have had to switch from Production for Utility to Production for Profit. Existing sources of Kapital are to be expropriated from the Private Citizen, from Civil Society, from Parliament and the broader Empire of Liberty. Land, buildings, artworks, ownership of privatized commercial firms, personal information, education and healthcare, retirement pensions, insurance plans and so forth have all become lucrative not because of their inherent abilities to create new Kapital but simply because that they are Kapital in and of itself. Extraction of existing sources of Kapital for the sake of more Kapital by Liberal Capitalist Technology represents an expropriation devolving into a redistribution of wealth that impoverishes both Civil Society and Parliament.
The problem cannot be resolved by simply raising or cutting Income Taxation Rates, regulating or deregulating entire Industries, nationalizing or privatizing aspects of economic life, expanding or contracting the social safety net, permitting or denying Universal Basic Income (UBI). None of the problems from the 1970s were truly addressed in the 1980s, let alone the 1990s. Instead, they were delayed so they could happen sometime in the 21st century. When Neoliberalism is slayed by its own doing, Liberal Capitalist Technology will drag Neoliberalism itself into destruction. Humanity, meanwhile, is free to choose between joining Neoliberalism’s fate and reevaluating its own relationship with Arbeit.
Which Technologies trigger the Mechanization Rate?
I have already written in great detail about how humanity’s relationship with Technology needs to become under the Work-Standard. Technology on its own creates newfound sources of wealth and economic growth because it subsequently opens up new sources of Arbeit and Geld whilst closing off other sources. Nowhere is this made readily apparent than in the deployment of Automation in tandem with the Mechanization Rate (MR). The Mechanization Rate is designed to relay how much of a VCS Economy has been taken over by Automation. Automation of economic life is a decision that must begin in the Council Democratic process, announced by the Central Bank, and enforced by the Council State and Student Government in the Tournaments. This is where the Economic Planners must work together with the Totality and the State.
In the VCS Economy, the SSE and Reciprocal-Reserve Banking System, there are economic activities which are overseen by the Totality and State or the Student Body and Student Government. Arbeit and Geld are being contributed to the Life-Energy Reserve from those economic activities, with the Geld received from the transactional sales in the accounts of the various Enterprises. At the same time, there are other economic activities taken over by Automation, preventing the Totality, State, Student Body and Student Government creating the Arbeit and Geld themselves. Automation enables them to focus on other production processes and transactional sales.
The Mechanization Rate does contain a qualifying difference between Automation and Artificial Intelligence with regard to NSFIs. There are fundamental distinctions between Automation eliminating sources of Arbeit and Geld and technologies, Technology supplementing existing contributions of Arbeit and Geld, and Technology facilitating the creations of new sources. Such distinctions are important because they in turn affect the issuances of NSFIs by Kontore.
- Technologies which replace Vocations with machinery will trigger the Mechanization Rate. Arbeit and Geld that could have been contributed by Vocations is compounded by MR for the Accounting Profession. Here, Council Democracy is the means of informing the Central Bank about the procedure. The Kontore cannot offer NSFIs for Vocations that have been replaced.
- Technologies which supplement the contributions of existing Vocations do not trigger the Mechanization Rate. The Technology introduced must enhance the Quality of Arbeit (QW) for the affected Profession. The replacement of typewriters with PCs inside an office building does not endanger the livelihoods of the personnel involved. The same is also true for the inverse: replacing the PCs with typewriters due to a power outage or a cyberattack. The Kontore can still issue NSFIs.
- Technologies which create new Professions, Enterprises, and Industries do not trigger the Mechanization Rate. A Technology that realizes different ways of doing something may provide new ways for Arbeit and Geld to be contributed. The Kontore can also issue NSFIs.
Even in Scenario 1999, Artificial Intelligence will still be in its infancy in the 21st century. AI on its own cannot replace existing Vocations nor can it create new ones. Decisions to replace Vocations or create new ones are issues which the Totality and State must decide in a functioning Council Democracy. Whatever consensus emerges will affect the extent to which the Kontore may issue NSFIs for interested Investors.
These conclusions will continue to uphold the concepts of Productive Property and Personal Property in Production for Dasein. Such distinctions will exist to remind the Totality and the State that are intimate distinctions to what is to be considered as Meaningful Work and Meaningless Work.
Categories: Digital Realm
Leave a Reply