Goffman Corruption In America, Or Regarding BTC@10K / by Bryce Hidysmith

< Soundtrack: Hatari - X >

The modern strategic environment is perhaps the first occasion where the performative aspects of intra-class competition in ruling parties extends to their investment strategies. When Nero attempted to use his position to start an acting career in spite of the social horror, the effects of this conflict of expression and culture were just a sideshow in the overall defection of the Julio-Claudians from the business of administration. Furthermore, these attempts at performance as a method of gaining validation were limited to the ruling classes. When the Heian got so addicted to art the government began to collapse, they never demanded that the peasants stop being peasants. The signaling apparatuses of ruling classes have typically been limited to the landed. Indeed, being landed demands de facto owning a number of souls to till that land in the traditional way. To be landed is also to have access to a population that is symbiotic to the land, where the tenant lord of the land extracts the surplus. While the game of Russian Czarist politics played out, one was never so far from the means of agricultural production that one could totally dissociate as to the standard behavior of the serfs that produce a surplus for capture. The robota necessary for automating those princes' lives were the same species as them, but still had to be treated as the same kind of mere automata. No matter how sophisticated or theatrical the power struggles of the ruling class got, the decadence of the rulers never infected the ruled to the extent that it corrupted their ability to generate a surplus.

It seems as though this type of decadence might be termed "Goffman Corruption" in reference to the sociologist of draumaturgical analysis. We should define Goffman Corruption as the notion that coordination systems waste energy when the abstract components of their signaling apparatus fail to depict anything outside of themselves, and are not coupled to representative components. The energy spent on this signaling process is simply lost. The coordination costs too much, embedded in costly rituals.

Metonymically, the trouble is now that, at least in America, the ruling class also wears Jeans; the whole culture's engaged in some sort of bizarre performative workingman cosplay. This is not to say that the exploitation of the working class is a good thing—far from it—but rather that there is something far worse than simply exploiting the working class: eliminating it. The assumption of a unified economic body in a generalized middle class has created a strange situation where attempts at performing status have created an environment where there is a fractal worship of financial leverage, influencing the way that the whole economy is structured. It is not as though the whole population is one class, it is as though the whole population has to narratize themselves as wearing the same brand of bootstraps to pull themselves up with. America exports control. It's common to suggest that the Chinese economy is overbuilt on exports, but America is overbuilt on being a city on a hill that is able to maintain an exceptionalist position. Don't be the first person to stop clapping for Stalin, translates to don't be the sucker who ever did any work in modern American capitalism.

This fractal attempt at exceptionalism has resulted in a situation where there is increasingly little reward for doing actual work. The only populations that engage in physical labor are those who don't have any options. This is a massive problem, as it seems as though Ricardo's law of rent only operates when there is the possibility of going out to a frontier and living off the land, using the comparative advantages that are built into your own body and mind. The Schumpeterian notion of rent suggests that the same dynamics suggested by Ricardo and Smith are also possible from an innovation perspective during the phase when the innovation in question has not been diffused additoinally assumes that innovations are to be reliably diffused into the commons. If one is to assume that the Ricardian rent dynamics have been transposed to a virtual environment, one has not sufficiently reified Schumpeterian Rent to Ricardian Rent, as Schumpeterian Rent would assume somehow that the dynamics of trade include diffusion, rather than scarcity and comparative advantage. In fact, the Bitcoin example suggests that the Schumpeterian version of the system incentives individuals to simply develop new and inventive methods of enforcing scarcity, so as to rent seek from innovations in rent seeking. Bitcoin seems like an almost perfect example of this at this stage, though it could have been so much more. It's more profitable to find inventive ways to permanently control a zero-sum system than actually build anything positive-sum.