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September 6, 2022 at 4:53 am in reply to: Jujutsu: can we lever the power of capital against itself? #248304
Thank you for Posting this Prof Nitzan.
I would like to clarify a few points, and in so doing, possibly highlight overlaps and divergences in what is being said.
In the CasP thesis, Power is described as “confidence in obedience”
I have spent the last few months delving into the academic literature on Power, and it strikes me that this definition of is what most of the academic literature would call “Power Over”
Broadly speaking, Power can be categorized into 3 main forms:
Power Over (Domination)
Power To (Ability)
Power With (The Interconnectivity of Community)
There is some discourse on the subject, and further categories are proposed, but there is not a lot of consensus as yet whether Power Within (Mindfulness) and Power Through (Empowerment of disempowered individuals by the surrounding community) should be added into this framework.
Here are some (though not all) of the resources I have been working through:
Women and power: fighting patriarchies and poverty by Dr Janet Townsend
Power : A Philosophical Analysis by Peter Morriss
Finding the Spaces for Change: A Power Analysis by John Gaventa
Beyond Rule; Trust and Power as Capacities by Raffnsøe, Sverre
A Non-normative Theory of Power and Domination by Pamela Pansardi
The concept of power in the analysis of organisations with social and political goals by Danny Rye
Conceptualizing power to study social-ecological interactions by Wiebren J. Boonstra
This is relevant to this discussion, because I hypothesize that Power Over, is the appropriation of Power To, by hierarchies of domination.
Under Capitalism, this Power To is extracted from the population, and inflated by the ritual of capitalization. This would be the process we know as Accumulation of Capital, and it is self-reinforcing, because the State of Capital has created the power structures, (legal claims on power) that structure the hierarchies through which the power can be extracted and appropriated by, and channeled upward to, and concentrated in, the upper strata of the hierarchies that dominate society.
In the same vein, Power To can be incorporated into Power With, but unlike the Power Over scenario, this is not extractive and alienating, but is instead inclusive and empowering.
When viewing these concepts of power, it seems clear to me that the accumulation of Capital is the result of extracting and appropriating Power To and Power With, and enfolding it into the Power Over hierarchy of Capitalism.
But this then also means that the process of decapitalization, would require the re-appropriation of Power To and Power With. And the Mechanism for this would be, in unfortunately simplistic terms, breaking the “Confidence in Obedience”
Communities and individuals have power, but they have largely been alienated from this power, and been subordinated to the power of dominant Capital and to the logic of capital more broadly. And this alienation is virtually impenetrable, to the point where expecting breaks in the confidence of obedience, become almost fantasy.
So, as you point out in Theory and Praxis, Theory and Practice, Practical Theory, the process of decapitalization needs to start at the communal level. By subverting the flow of consumers, and labour, and passive investment (through pension funds etc.) we can shake that confidence. This deals the double blow of undermining Dominant Capital, while the communities in question are empowered through self-provisioning.
The magnitude of Power Over that is manifested in existing Capital, is extremely daunting. But is, nonetheless, not insurmountable.
So my focus more recently has been to look at what distinguishes Power Over From Power With, and I am slowly reaching the conclusion that the fundamental difference, is in how Power To is co-ordinated within the respective frameworks.
Hierarchical Co-ordination strategies are distinct from Horizontal Co-ordination strategies. Hierarchies will tend toward opaque information signaling, both internally and externally. By this I mean that they will obscure details, and compartmentalize information, with the specific intension of preventing coordination that does not align with, and reinforce their confidence in obedience. Hierarchical co-ordination also does not require consent, only compliance. Thus many can participate in such a system of coercion, without being aware of the overall effects of their actions, or of their specific role within a broader plan. Literally being cogs in Mumford’s megamachine.
Horizontal Co-ordination tends to have far more transparent information signaling, although there remains a need for some opacity for InfoSec needs and overall protection against infiltration and undermining by hierarchies that seek to undermine or destroy such horizontal co-ordination. Unlike Hierarchical Co-ordination, Horizontal Co-ordination implicitly, and often explicitly requires not only consent, but consensus, even if it is a weak form of consensus (85% or higher). In this way, inclusivity, and solidarity are assured, while reinforcing the distributed nature of the power with approach. This breeds resilience without the need for coercive or exploitative threats of force.
Now, when I said originally, that the “only way to subvert dominant capital, is by coordinating capital at the federated communal level”,
what I was saying is that the current coordination of power needs to shift from a Hierarchical strategy, to a Horizontal Strategy. This does not disassociate capital from power (that would not be possible), but it does divert the foundations of expected future earnings (Consumers, Labour, and Investment) away from Dominant Capital.
This entire strategy was inspired by the last section of ‘Theory and Praxis, Theory and Practice, Practical Theory‘. Which is why I believe that there is strong overlap. The divergence is possibly because I have taken to looking at Power in the disambiguated view I stipulated above.
Capital is the legal claim to power, and I believe that this claim can be rooted in the community, co-ordinated by the community, and exclude the flow of power to the State of Capital.
If you have any advice on how I can apply this conception to a quantitative or qualitative analysis, I would be very glad to make the attempt.
thank you for the response.
I have not, and would not claim any uniqueness for the idea of a knab. I have not read the book you quoted from, though it will certainly be added to my reading list now. (I assume it is The Case for Community Wealth Building by Joe Guinan and Martin O’Neill ?)
the only thing i can suggest that might be unique to my knab idea, though i would need to do the requisite reading to confirm or refute this idea of uniqueness, is that it is not a general concept that is simply open to all and sundry. Rather it is a specific institution, created by a specific community, to see to the specific needs of the community that creates it. It might be applicable and replicable in other communities, but a single knab would serve only the community that creates it, and would not seek to scale up beyond that community.
As stated, I am looking for feedback on the idea, so your input is valued. Thank you again
Instead of posting in a new thread, I wanted to simply continue here with the praxis concept
In line with the Decapitalization concept I am hoping to get some feedback on an idea.
The crowdfunding bank, or knab (a reverse bank), is a proposed system that can facilitate several of a community’s services as well as interaction with the outside world. Its primary goal is to take in deposits, perhaps supplemented by an initial, third-party bank or credit union loan, in order to eliminate recurring payments for its members. It does so using strategic funding and purchasing to turn rents or recurring costs, into smaller, one-time costs, known as sunk costs. The process is called decapitalization.
The knab’s primary goal is to reverse this process, by identifying expected future needs that will be capitalized, and discounting the present value of potential ways to self-provision for those needs, denying capitalists’ claims on earnings from fulfilling them.
The most basic mechanism of the knab works like so:
- The knab receives a request or takes the initiative to identify a recurring cost that could be sunk through the funding of community organizations or the purchase of (re)productive property (e.g. buying a renewable generator to sink the cost of electricity).
- The knab negotiates a contract with affected parties in which they will agree to continue paying the rent until the loan is repaid.
- The knab proceeds with the funding/purchase, and the repayment period begins.
- The parties may refund the knab the income saved to increase its purchasing power.
A knab in a community in which capitalist power is strong can work by structuring itself as a billpay system. Community members would join the knab and agree to pay their bills through its system. By staggering the payment into the knab and the payment of the bills, the knab can use its temporarily-held funds to transparently decapitalize its members.
With this model, a knab can also grow organically out of a bulk purchasing model (for fulfilling community resource network needs). At first, fulfilling demand for basic services can be done more cheaply using bulk purchasing of the service. The savings from doing this can be used for sunk cost funding.
Another advantage of this model is the possibility of adding an insurance service. By having members pay a small additional fee, they can insure themselves and the other members against foreclosure or being cut off from services due to an inability to pay. This could be a powerful supplement to existing foreclosure activism.
Local Banking Model
A knab which exists in a community in which anti-capitalist market values are strong could issue a local, deflationary currency in order to facilitate local commerce. This would allow the knab to issue loans of unearned money and to exchange much or all of the local legal tender for the new local currency. By holding the community’s legal tender in trust, the community can use alternative currency for internal activities, and legal tender for external activities.
Another possible scheme which would combine bulk purchasing and issuance of local currency would be to take legal tender for purchases through the knab and return a share of the local currency. The small network of people that use the currency significantly reduces the chances of capitalization, especially if the community members are wary of it.
Property Ownership and Decisions
Funding, once given to the knab, should be considered repayable until spent by the knab. Property bought by the knab should be held in a community commons trust and rights to it distributed through loanership. How much each person contributed should not influence the decision of how the funds are used. That should be done on the basis of decapitalization and sustainability. Considerations based on contribution will preserve irrational hierarchies that the communities are looking to eliminate. Decisions should be made democratically or empirically, with aim of the community regaining power over themselves and the ability to self-provision.
Data Collection and Use
A knab is possible and desirable in the early stages of a community prefiguration. It is in a good position to collect data for a dynamic resource management system. In a flow network model, the knab’s job is to abstract demand for products or services and fund an effort or purchase
i spoke to DenimGod after the interview was released, specifically about this wierd thing he brought up at the end about CasP offering a form of Economic Vanguardism. Several people in a discord server were very perplexed by this framing. Here is DenimGod’s response:
“Hey everybody, thanks for listening!
For some context on “economic vanguardism,” 1Dime is largely an orthodox Marxist and Marxist-Leninist (ML) platform (with some MMT perspectives), and I was trying to angle my comments towards ML listeners. For context, a lot of super-online MLs have an annoying streak of calling effective anarchist organization “vanguardism” because they think that to organize at all is to create a form of vanguard, and they want to make it seem like really existing anarchism is just uninformed Leninism and therefore Anarchism as an ideology is ineffective in the real world and is just childish individualism and blah blah blah. I’ve been accused of being an “anarcho-Leninist” by MLs for that reason – I describe an effective democratic dual power structure and they call it a vanguard because they don’t understand how organizations can exist without being imposed on people. When I said CasP leads anarchists to a form of economic vanguardism, I said that directing my comments to MLs, with the meaning that CasP gives people a new way of organizing more effective dual power structures, which MLs erroneously label as vanguardism. A lot of the nuance of my point is lost to editing unfortunately.
Anarchist listeners hear “economic vanguardism” and think that I’m advocating for anarchists to unilaterally seize resources and attempt to enforce a party line, but that’s not what I mean, I’m using the term to respond to MLs who call me an anarcho-leninist because I like Rojava. I was also reluctant to even say the straw-man because of the potential for misinterpretations like this, but I didn’t know what other words to use to address the point.
In terms of what concrete strategy I am advocating for, my interpretation of CasP is it implies organizing an alternative reciprocating economic machine outside of capitalism to provide for peoples’ needs without using currency, which will reduce the expected future revenues and capitalizations of corporations.”
Hi Yuri, I think this is a fascinating angle from which to approach the subject.
1) on the subject of “seeking” (wanting) and the links to depression, I would like to recommend the work of Social Neuroscientist, Dr John T. Caccioppo, who wrote the book “Loneliness: Human Nature and the need for Social Connection” in which he describes the physical and social effects of Social Isolation, the fear of social ostracism, and loneliness. I think there could be some invaluable links to the work you’re already looking at.
3 & 4) The Neuroscientific insights into affective data, and how workplaces can be manipulated, would certainly have huge ramifications for the future direction of CasP research. Not only for companies wishing to increase productivity with a “Happy” workforce, but also in terms of companies seeking to increase their differential breadth, or companies seeking to influence public and investor opinion when practicing hype on their valuations.
In addition to this, it might be useful to note the neoclassical, liberal, and neoliberal tendency to view Happiness as synonymous with Utility (in the economic sense) and that by maximizing Happiness (Utility) all parties are supposed to profit. This is clearly untrue, and I think CasP provides a solid understanding of WHY it is untrue.
Looking forward to seeing your work progress and to reading your final output.
Alternatively, Instead of viewing the state as the Qualitative half of the power coin, perhaps the state can be deconstructed using the existing CasP framework.
For instance, viewing Politics and Governance in the same way that Veblen framed Business and Industry. In which case, Politics would need to sabotage Governance in order to accumulate power.
Another example would be Political Parties competing with one another for dominance. In the same way that corporations seek differential accumulation, and are deemed dominant when they accumulate at a higher rate than their competition, Political parties seek differential power, and are deemed dominant when they accumulate at a higher rate than their competition. Thus, even when overall support for the system of politics is in decline, as long as support for one party declines more slowly than that of other parties, the Domination can be achieved.
The inability to quantify much of political ideology obviously hampers the potential for empirical analyses, but I am looking for ways to move past these inabilities, in much the same way that CasP managed to bypass the inability of neoclassicism and marxism to describe the accumulation of capital.
If Neoclassical and Marxist economic ideologies are predicated on theories of value, then can we similarly inspect the theories of value that underpin the State?
Liberal Democracies are supposed to be predicated on Liberty, Consent of the Governed, and Equality before the Law. But on the face of it, we can see an absolute failure of the foundation. So can we deconstruct the liberal ideology and use Liberty, Consent, and Equality as the quanta for measuring the accumulation of political power? Or would it be more apt to view The State not in terms of accumulation, and more broadly in terms of strength and rigidity?January 9, 2022 at 8:08 am in reply to: Costly Efficiencies Working Paper – Critical feedback #247484
Following up on Scot’s comments about non-profit hospitals. I don’t think an analysis of Private For-Profit Hospitals vs Public Hospitals can provide an adequate picture of what is really going on.
In September of 2020, a study was published on Investment Income of Private Non-Profit Hospitals in the US that there is a definitive differential in the Investment Income of these non-profits, the biggest ones use investment to generate almost half their income.
In 2019, Kaiser showed that Investment Income totaled nearly $300 billion, and that only 7% of this was dedicated to their core mission (healthcare). With some non-profit hospitals going from “In the Red” budgets, to profitable using this strategy, and with the non-profit status hinging on the hospitals giving back to the community in exchange for their tax-exempt status, we would assume that this would result in increases of free patient care and debt forgiveness, but on the contrary, what we see instead is that these non-profit hospitals fall far short of their requirements, and in many cases, actually chase down payments that should have qualified for debt relief ( Fierce Health Report )
Once we account for this middle sector, which is much larger than either the for profit or the public sector, it becomes far more obvious that there is a lot of opacity in the US hospital industry that is hiding some very shady stuff
Since CasP research focuses explicitly on analyzing power, it is most practical for bottom up activists who are critical of power.
This is precisely the kind of policy influence I am hoping to see articulated by CasP theorists. If those with a clear understanding of the inequities of accumulated power are influencing policy for movements that aim to dismantle hierarchical structures of power that currently dominate, then a CasP framework should be able to articulate what to avoid, if not how to actually build and implement policies that are more equitable.
Using CasP research to implement policy (i.e. wield power) would be odd
Using an example from the research I posted originally, one of the mechanisms used by main-stream economists to influence policy now, is Economic Devices like GDP. Your own work has shown what utter nonsense GDP is, and we’ve seen plenty of evidence that economic growth is the opposite of a good thing. So in CasP policy implementation, let’s assume that the CasP Power Index were to be used as a device in the shaping of policy, such that minimum and maximum power caps were set, with a maximum Power Index difference to be strictly adhered to, and that an Organisation like the IRS, were to enforce such a policy, Taxing the wealthy, and redistributing the wealth to those without power, and that Corporate governance were also required to adhere to these “power equalizer” policies.
I think I have come to the conclusion that power itself is not the problem, but that having power structures that cannot be dismantled, or that are so deeply institutionalized that we are fearful of disentangling them, is the problem.
I am very quick to admit that I don’t think CasP has developed far enough, or deeply enough, to provide a building framework for setting up policy devices, or providing sufficient cognitive infrastructure to allow for bottum-up movements to propose adequate policies, let alone for any CasPer to assume an institutional position and implement any kind of policy directly… But I do think that it is an avenue worth exploring
I just cannot agree that your narrative offers a complete explanation of the interaction between the movie industry (the creators) and the movie business (those who sabotage the creators in search of profits).
I would not claim that Hollywood Business doesn’t Strategically Sabotage Hollywood Industry. It definitely does, My contention here is that the depiction by Jacobin isn’t accurate. What is being sabotaged is not the creativity. I come from an Arts background, with several years in theatre and film. I was on stage, and in front of the camera, and behind the curtain and the camera.
It’s difficult to argue that creativity isn’t stifled by budget constraints, but having worked with both big budgets and highly restricted budgets, I can confidently say that in situations where budgets were limited, we got more creative with the story-telling, and the technical techniques, in order to make the money we did have available, work better for us. There is also a measure of push-back that emerges when you constrain budgets, and the creatives then tend to encode anti-power subtext throughout their works.
The homogenization of media content of all types is undeniable and has been noted by many people over the last decade or two.
This is where I disagree, and to be honest, the only thing that will change my mind is a detailed analysis of content, which none of the opinion pieces over the last 2 decades have provided. Instead, what they provide, are very cherry picked instances of Executive interference in the creative process, and subjective critiques of the movies that just happen to confirm their “movies are becoming the same” line.
Close to 12 thousand movies released in the last 14 years, means we cannot use a sample size of 20 movies, and use that to extrapolate any kind of meaningful conclusion.
Homogenous does not have to mean “bad,” but it always means “the same or similar.”
Debate exists within the arts community about the variety of stories it is possible to tell. Meta-narrative pundits have been saying since the time of the ancient greeks that there are only 3, or 6, or 7, or 12, or 36 stories that can be told. Regardless of the number there is indeed a very low upper limit to the variety that can be used in basic plot lines. Creativity is not in the basic plot, but in how we tell the stories. So homogenous plots are definitely an observable phenomena, but the creativity with which they are told, is a very different concept. It is this creativity that I highly doubt is being sabotaged, or indeed can be sabotaged. The Audience simply would not tolerate it.
Whether these five companies refuse to fund ground-breaking movies with unfamiliar or unproven themes, or just crowd such movies out by buying up all the theater space, creativity is being hindered.
but since Netflix’s rise to prominence there has been a massive shift in the power dynamics of the industry, and every VOD and SVOD service is clamoring for content, which provides a fair bit of leverage for independent studios in negotiations. But again, this doesn’t affect the creative process, it merely affects the budgets that the studios have available.
If capitalism ultimately succeeds, there truly will be nothing new under the sun because capitalists seek pareto efficiency, which requires sticking with what reliably works, i.e., the familiar.
In this context, Pareto Efficiency would mean that a major studio would gain differentially over its competitors by providing more creative control to creators, since this would reduce the benefit the other studio is getting from witholding creative control. Or maybe i’m misunderstanding your usage of Pareto Efficiency here
I’m going to try to make my case, using limited data, and a relatively simplistic argument.
The argument being made in general in the Jacobin article might make use of the term “risk” appropriately, but the underlying suggestion is that creative control is the risk factor that is hedged against.
I wont argue that Hollywood finance isn’t risk averse. That would be silly. Instead I would say that a plethora of research on the subject has indicated that in order to minimize risk, the predominant factor in the finance equation is a very simple “low budget – high projected return” production. Risk is not in the creativity, or the controversial nature of the projects. And so homogeneity of content has very little to do with the decision being made by executives.
Jacobin does make a good point in that part of the risk aversion exhibited by Hollywood studios, is the tendency to put out larger volumes of movies with lower returns, than to bet everything on very few blockbusters with the potential for high returns.
Here we can see an overall increase in total volume of theatrical releases from 2007 – 2019
Then if we look at the same period and start inspecting the finances, the average cost per production far outweighs the average revenue per production.
Finally if we compare each year’s top earner to the baseline average gross per movie, we can see that the vast majority of the movies being produced are not big revenue earners at all
This seems to suggest that the vast majority of the 700-800 movies released annually, are not being produced with any thought to limiting creative control to conform with homogenized audience demands, but purely to minimizing budgets. With the odd Big Earner to make up any potential shortfall.
And on the streamer side of content, it is all about churn. They don’t care if a movie or series is creative or not. What they care about is having a broad base of diverse IP that appeals to every niche they can find through their algorithms.
Is Hollywood risk-averse? Yes
Does Hollywood’s risk aversion result in bad movies? I would answer by saying tastes vary, even within targeted demographics, but for the most part, no.
- This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Pieter de Beer.
I only briefly perused the article, and right off the bat, their understanding of entertainment risk seems to be inconsistent with corporate and financial risk.
They seem to be conflating the notion of stories that might not viewed, with the risk that CasP explicitly describes as the risk of not beating the average.
While there is probably some slight overlap, the 2 are not the same.
They also, in a single article, state that movie content is becoming universalized, and that streaming content is becoming ever more niche and diversified in order to appeal to specific demographics.
So both strategies, according to Jacobin, are risk averse, suggesting that no matter what trend would be taken by content creators, it would be considered the result of risk aversion.
This indicates that their understanding of Risk needs a lot more clarification
I read your walls of text. Which is how I am able to formulate my questions. There’s a lot to unpack in this one, but before I do, I just wanted to say that I do think outrage has it’s place. Anger, releases cortisol in the brain, which cements memories. It’s a signal to the brain that this moment, is something to pay attention to. It is something that should be remembered and learned from. But then we have to move on. Long term cortisol levels in the brain have detrimental effects, like emotional dysfunction, and reduced ability to reason clearly. So while Anger and outrage have their uses, we should stay angry, lest we become outrageous.
“We cannot have a meaningful revolution without humor.”
Being cool and analytic gives the opposition (Authoritarians and Capitalists, and the stooges of bureaucratic middle-management, and Neoclassical economists) less ammunition with which to assail you when you make your points.
It is possible to be impassioned without forsaking logic and reason, and empirical analysis. Just like it is possible to remain cool and calm and still make intuitive leaps of abductive logic.
First I want to confirm that you did see my full response to your post, and then I was hoping if you could clarify something. Are you suggesting that Dominant Pharmaceuticals, or any other powerful entities deliberately planned the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Don’t get me wrong, I have deep-seated dislike and enmity for those at the top of the power structures, but I think that planning of the Pandemic goes against the rituals of Dominant Capital. It is one thing to opportunistically prey upon crisis. It is an entirely different matter to create a crisis that can easily spiral out of control and result in the total destruction of power bases. I don’t think the Powerful, who are demonstrably risk-averse, would hazard such a risk, even for massive short term gains in wealth or social control.
Ok, So, Attempt number 2, should go better this time as I am saving as I go
1. The Science
So while it is important to try and separate the science of Covid-19 Vaccines from the business of Covid-19 Vaccines, this is no simple task, since the science is bought and paid for by both Public and Private Sector money. mRNA vaccines spent about 5 decades in development hell. I mean this quite literally, since there were lots of fights over patenting issues, companies set up to try and profit from research, companies failing, companies being bought, a kind of musical chairs of company founders/scientists/researchers jumping ship to larger firms. Accusations of misconduct, both scientifically and socially… It’s an entire story all of it’s own.
But around the turn of the decade (2010), 2 important things happened
1) UPenn sold exclusive patent rights for an mRNA process that resulted in Pseudodrine (which prevented the host body from seeing the foreign mRNA as an antagonist), for $300,000 to a small Lab-Reagent company now called CellScript, who have since made millions in sublicensing this patent to companies like Moderna, and
2) from the early 1980’s until 2012 Canadian Pieter Cullis and his team of researchers at University of British Colombia, developed Lipid Nano Particle tech, which forms the basis of the delivery platform for mRNA vaccines. By 2012, they had managed to develop the technology enough that mass production was possible. And this is when big money investors became interested. Cullis has started several small companies, and one of these is now privately valued at around $13mil, thanks to investment rounds based on ongoing research into his LNP tech.
All of this meant that the day after the SARS-COV-2 Virus Genome was made publicly available, companies like Moderna and BionTech were immediately ready with their vaccines to begin testing. They did not want to waste any time in profiting from the global pandemic, and whoever made it to market first with a proven Vaccine, was going to rake in Billions in international purchasing contracts.
Preparation and forewarning
Virtually every science writer and journalist, at some point, had written a piece like “It’s not if, but when” with regards to a pandemic being an existential threat to humanity. I had read so many of these by 2018, that I included it in a podcast episode I did with a friend about existential risks. And yet, studies have found that not a single country, rich or poor, was prepared when the pandemic hit.
Areas of research that were identified at the start of the pandemic as vital were impacts of quarantine, case and contact isolation, hand hygiene, face masks, public education about personal protection, therapeutics (antivirals and antibodies), and future vaccines. And these studies were rapidly conducted, and the findings were rapidly processed and collated and disseminated.
The first 6 months of the pandemic saw 100,000 research papers published in relation to Covid-19. (although estimates of the first 10,000 showed that only about 40% were original research, and the other 60% were mostly opinion pieces) It was seriously an unprecedented achievement for science.
But the result was a policy rollout of mismatched and counterproductive government and business policies that got so bad, that eventually, the only solution was lockdowns. This is the surface reading of lockdowns, but a long-view of the lockdowns shows that lockdowns led to stimulus spending, which predominantly benefitted a very small portion of the private sector, very disproportionately (1% of businesses reaped 25% of the $700bn reward) and the stimulus spending that went to households, triggered a spending frenzy that massively boosted the Consumer Discretionary sector, and the IT and Communications Sectors. So while it would unwise to attribute the lockdowns to a deliberate decision to assist Dominant Capital, it is not far fetched to say that poor governance, poor planning, and poor readiness, allowed for the optimal conditions for Capitalists to pounce on a crisis, as the have often done in the past.
2. Dominant Pharmaceutical Capital and their differential accumulation throughout the pandemic
Looking at the Pharmaceutical Industry through the CasP framework, we can see a number of very telling indicators showing how its Dominant players Accumulated Differentially.
1st, Mergers and Acquisitions increased 17% in the first half of 2020, which is a massive increase in breadth given the downturn taken by much of the rest of the economy.
2nd, Strategic Sabotage in the form of Patenting saw a 6.3% rise in BioTech and a 10.2% rise in Pharmaceuticals. So not only were they consolidating like crazy, they were also enclosing the access rights to a life-saving technology.
3rd, Depth of Capital Accumulation was also increased during this time, as Market Dominance and desperation by those with less power allowed the Pharma giants to vary their prices by region, and gouge the international market to extract as much profit from the situation as they could get away with
4th, The Direction and Pace of Industry was decidedly skewed toward broadening and deepening power. Vaccine Production facilities were largely outside of the regions where they were most needed, and this did not change, and has not changed, because to do so would reduce the power now held by the producer to get away with the 3rd point made above. From 2022, plans are being made to begin production in India and South Africa of mRNA vaccines, but this process has taken 2 years to come to fruition, and developing the production facilities up to par is going to take an additional several months. These delays, again served to strengthen the power-base of Dominant Capital.
5th, Weeding out Competition was very subversive throughout the pandemic, very specifically in the form of Media bias being propagated toward the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. By painting China as the cause of the pandemic, and the source of the virus, western media was able to influence the majority of nations into rejecting the Sinopharm Vaccine in favour of Western Vaccines. With the result being that of all the big vaccine producers, Sinopharm was the only one that failed to accumulate capital at a net positive rate throughout the pandemic.
3. The Rest of the Dominant Capital Market and their differential accumulation throughout the pandemic
2020 was a banger year for Dominant Capital. the Financial Times did a breakdown list of “the top 100 winners of the pandemic“, and USA Today did a roundup showing that Billionaires added almost a trillion dollars to their combined income in 2020. Below, you can see the infographic of the big winners, dominated by Big Tech, Communications, Healthcare, and Consumer Discretionary.
It is important to note here that the same tactics employed by Pharma’s Dominant Capital, was also employed by the rest of the Dominant Capital playing field.
Mergers and acquisitions were down globally, but kicked back up in North America in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2020, and as lockdowns were ended and economies reopened, a global supply chain crisis gave dominant capital all the excuse they needed to begin inflating their prices as the swung into a depth phase.
To what extent their actions can be attributed to an aversion to lockdowns, I feel is probably up for debate, given that there were a great many that benefitted from the lockdowns then, and will likely benefit again. The Industry that is most deeply hit by lockdowns, is Oil and Gas. 2020 was a terrible year for them, while 2021 was a fantastic year. So they will likely be the ones least eager to see and kind of lockdown be re-enacted. I don’t know how to check for lobbying activity in this regard, but it would be invaluable to know where the oil industry is spending their lobbying dollars.
4. The State of Capital and its Support Structures for a) Accumulation of Capital and b) creating a Global Inequitable Vaccine Divide
As illustrated above, the state’s lockdown procedures were not running counter to Dominant Capital in all cases, and in many cases acted as a support structure for Dominant Capital’s accumulation practices. In addition to acting as a support structure via stimulus spending, eliminating competition that was not “too big to fail”, the state also enabled Dominant Capital accumulation by means of trade influence to ensure wealthy countries benefited more from changes in trade flows than did poorer countries.
In addition to support for differential accumulation, Wealthy nations created, in conjunction with Dominant Capital, a despicably large gap in vaccine equity. While rich and middle income nations are now at an average of 70% vaccinated, poor nations are still struggling at around 7%. and it is not just internationally that this wealth/vaccine inequity was perpetuated. Poor and marginalized communities in wealthy nations have also been disproportionately undervaccinated. The vast response to much of the criticism surrounding this point has been that poor and marginalized communities have shown a large Hesitancy to take the vaccines. But putting aside the fact that many of these communities have ample reason to distrust Pharmaceutical companies and Governments that have a long history of using and abusing them by dumping faulty or expired medications on them and using them as involuntary experiments, there is the question of the deliberate spread of counterfactual information that has resulted in the majority of the hesitancy. Which brings us to point number 5.
5. The Role of Misinformation and Disinformation in Expanding the Pandemic Problem
Many believe that the anti-vaccine community is a decentralized community largely spearheaded by concerned soccer moms that are terrified their children will develop Autism from the harmful chemical cocktails the state wants to force onto them. To some extent, there is some truth to this belief, because a large and vocal portion of the the anti-vaccine community is exactly this type of demographic.
But what is largely ignored is that these entities tend to act as boosters for the disinformation rather than the original source. Research done by the Center for Countering Digital Hate has found that the vast majority (over 70%) of all Vaccine Disinformation and Covid-19 Disinformation, originates from just 12 influential social media accounts. Now dubbed the Disinformation Dozen, and that within this group, the most prevalent voice is that of Joseph Mercola, an osteopath with an “alternative health” Empire he runs jointly with his wife, to the value of over $100million.
So what we see is almost a perfect storm of conditions for the Power of Capital. Science enclosed by property rights, generating Differential Accumulation in the health industry, and sustaining the condition for the State of Capital to ensure further differential Accumulation by sectors outside of health, while simultaneous reinforcing global divides, deepening and broadening power bases, while the little emperors of pseudoscience re-enforce foundations for the global divides.
- This reply was modified 9 months, 2 weeks ago by Pieter de Beer.
It happens, and has happened to me before on other forums.
I should have saved the work in a word processor before posting, as I should have learned this lesson a long time ago.
C’est La Vie