Home Forum Political Economy Abdullah Öcalan’s CasP-like political writings Reply To: Abdullah Öcalan’s CasP-like political writings

Jeremy Zerbe
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My answer to the question posed in the last sentence of the abstract above is ‘religion’.

People find value and comfort and power in religion and some turn it into forms of capital. Since orthodox economics has the real fake noble prize in econ maybe casp can have the one in religion or powernomics.

Are you familiar at all with Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon?

Book here and one of the many podcast/interview appearances he did on the book here. I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list after having listened to another fascinating interview he gave Lewis Lapham. A lot of what he talked about there resonated with my reading of CasP, especially about advertising and organization management.

It’s no mystery that CasP uses a religious tone to describe the “ritual” of capitalization at the heart of the capitalist system, which Blair Fix goes into great detail about here. Of particular note from that much broader article:

If [the capitalization] ritual seems arbitrary, that’s because it is. There’s nothing objective about the capitalization formula. It doesn’t point to any fundamental truth about the world, either natural or social. The capitalization formula is simply a ritual — an article of faith.

This arbitrariness doesn’t lessen the importance of capitalization. Far from it. Rituals are always arbitrary. But their effects are always real. Just ask Bob, who’s about to be ritually sacrificed to appease the god of rain. The ritual is arbitrary — founded on a worldview that is false. Killing Bob won’t bring rain. But the rulers believe it will. And so Bob dies. The ritual is arbitrary. The effects are real.

The capitalization ritual works the same way. The formula is arbitrary, as are its inputs. But that doesn’t matter. What’s important is that people believe in the ritual.

And the subsequent embedded quote from CasP:

Faith in the principle of capitalization now has more followers than all of the world’s religions combined. It is accepted everywhere — from New York and London to Beijing and Teheran. In fact, the belief has spread so widely that it is now used regularly to discount not only capitalist income, but also the income of wage earners, governments, and, indeed, society at large.

Either way, McCarraher’s is another long book you could read with a tumbler of wine under the shade of a tree.