Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

7

Capitalism is not a physical location like royal palace or financial district to be sized by a revolutionary crowd or confronted through an idealistic demonstration. Nor is it merely a set of "sound" policies to be adopted and connected, as prescribed in the business editorials. It is an old ideological illusion of many liberals and Marxists that capitalism simply equals wage labour in a market economy. Such was the basic belief of the twentieth century, on all sides. We are now dealing with its damaging consequences. Markets and wage labor and existed long before capitalism, and social coordination through markets will almost surely outlive capitalism. Capitalism, we contend, is only a particular historical configuration of markets and state structures where private economic gain by almost any means is the paramount goal and measure of success. A different and more satisfying organization of markets and human socety may yet become possible.

—p.7 The Next Big Turn (1) by Craig J. Calhoun, Georgi Derluguian, Immanuel Wallerstein, Michael Mann, Randall Collins 1 year, 3 months ago

Capitalism is not a physical location like royal palace or financial district to be sized by a revolutionary crowd or confronted through an idealistic demonstration. Nor is it merely a set of "sound" policies to be adopted and connected, as prescribed in the business editorials. It is an old ideological illusion of many liberals and Marxists that capitalism simply equals wage labour in a market economy. Such was the basic belief of the twentieth century, on all sides. We are now dealing with its damaging consequences. Markets and wage labor and existed long before capitalism, and social coordination through markets will almost surely outlive capitalism. Capitalism, we contend, is only a particular historical configuration of markets and state structures where private economic gain by almost any means is the paramount goal and measure of success. A different and more satisfying organization of markets and human socety may yet become possible.

—p.7 The Next Big Turn (1) by Craig J. Calhoun, Georgi Derluguian, Immanuel Wallerstein, Michael Mann, Randall Collins 1 year, 3 months ago
10

In my view, for a historical system to be considered a capitalist system, the dominant or deciding characteristic must be the persistent search for the endless accumulation of capital—the accumulation of capital in order to accumulate more capital. And for this characteristic to prevail, there must be mechanisms that penalize any actors who seek to operate on the basis of other values or other objectives, such that these nonconforming actors are sooner or later eliminated from the scene, or at least severely hampered in their ability to accumulate significant amounts of capital. All the many institutions of the modern world-system operate to promote, or at least are constrained by the pressure to promote, the endless accumulation of capital.

—p.10 Structural Crisis, or Why Capitalists May No Longer Find Capitalism Rewarding (9) by Immanuel Wallerstein 1 year, 3 months ago

In my view, for a historical system to be considered a capitalist system, the dominant or deciding characteristic must be the persistent search for the endless accumulation of capital—the accumulation of capital in order to accumulate more capital. And for this characteristic to prevail, there must be mechanisms that penalize any actors who seek to operate on the basis of other values or other objectives, such that these nonconforming actors are sooner or later eliminated from the scene, or at least severely hampered in their ability to accumulate significant amounts of capital. All the many institutions of the modern world-system operate to promote, or at least are constrained by the pressure to promote, the endless accumulation of capital.

—p.10 Structural Crisis, or Why Capitalists May No Longer Find Capitalism Rewarding (9) by Immanuel Wallerstein 1 year, 3 months ago
13

They can also, in part or in whole, transfer their search for capital from the production (and even the commercial) sphere, and concentrate on profits in the financial sector. Today we speak of such “financialization” as though it were an invention of the 1970s. But it is actually a very long-standing practice in all Kondratieff B-phases. As Braudel has shown, the truly successful capitalists have always been those who reject “specialization” in industry, commerce, or finance, preferring to be generalists who move between these processes as opportunities dictate.

—p.13 Structural Crisis, or Why Capitalists May No Longer Find Capitalism Rewarding (9) by Immanuel Wallerstein 1 year, 3 months ago

They can also, in part or in whole, transfer their search for capital from the production (and even the commercial) sphere, and concentrate on profits in the financial sector. Today we speak of such “financialization” as though it were an invention of the 1970s. But it is actually a very long-standing practice in all Kondratieff B-phases. As Braudel has shown, the truly successful capitalists have always been those who reject “specialization” in industry, commerce, or finance, preferring to be generalists who move between these processes as opportunities dictate.

—p.13 Structural Crisis, or Why Capitalists May No Longer Find Capitalism Rewarding (9) by Immanuel Wallerstein 1 year, 3 months ago
32

[...] fear leads to the search for political alternatives of kinds not entertained before. The media refer to this as populism, but it is far more complicated than this slogan term suggests. For some the fear leads to multiple and irrational scapegoatings. For others, it leads to the willingness to unthink deeply ingrained assumptions about the operations of the modern world-system. Th is can be seen in the United States as the difference between the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

—p.32 Structural Crisis, or Why Capitalists May No Longer Find Capitalism Rewarding (9) by Immanuel Wallerstein 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] fear leads to the search for political alternatives of kinds not entertained before. The media refer to this as populism, but it is far more complicated than this slogan term suggests. For some the fear leads to multiple and irrational scapegoatings. For others, it leads to the willingness to unthink deeply ingrained assumptions about the operations of the modern world-system. Th is can be seen in the United States as the difference between the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

—p.32 Structural Crisis, or Why Capitalists May No Longer Find Capitalism Rewarding (9) by Immanuel Wallerstein 1 year, 3 months ago
54

Although educational credential inflation expands on false premises—the ideology that more education will produce more equality of opportunity, more high-tech economic performance, and more good jobs—it does provide some degree of solution to technological displacement of the middle class. Educational credential inflation helps absorb surplus labor by keeping more people out of the labor force; and if students receive a financial subsidy, either directly or in the form of low-cost (and ultimately unrepaid) loans, it acts as hidden transfer payments. In places where the welfare state is ideologically unpopular, the mythology of education supports a hidden welfare state. Add the millions of teachers in elementary, secondary, and higher education, and their administrative staffs, and the hidden Keynesianism of educational inflation may be said to virtually keep the capitalist economy afloat.

As long as the educational system can be somehow financed, it operates as hidden Keynesianism: a hidden form of transfer payments and pump-priming, the equivalent of New Deal make-work setting the unemployed to painting murals in post offices or planting trees in conservation camps, Educational expansion is virtually the only legitimately accepted form of Keynesian economic policy, because it is not overtly recognized as such. It expands under the banner of high technology and meritocracy—it is the technology that requires a more educated labor force. In a roundabout sense this is true: it is the technological displacement of labor that makes school a place of refuge from the shrinking job pool, although no one wants to recognize the fact. No matter—as long as the number of those displaced is shunted into an equal number of those expanding the population of students, the system will survive.

whoa

link this to "learn to code"-style policies & skills-biased technological change

—p.54 The End of Middle-Class Work: No More Escapes (37) by Randall Collins 1 year, 6 months ago

Although educational credential inflation expands on false premises—the ideology that more education will produce more equality of opportunity, more high-tech economic performance, and more good jobs—it does provide some degree of solution to technological displacement of the middle class. Educational credential inflation helps absorb surplus labor by keeping more people out of the labor force; and if students receive a financial subsidy, either directly or in the form of low-cost (and ultimately unrepaid) loans, it acts as hidden transfer payments. In places where the welfare state is ideologically unpopular, the mythology of education supports a hidden welfare state. Add the millions of teachers in elementary, secondary, and higher education, and their administrative staffs, and the hidden Keynesianism of educational inflation may be said to virtually keep the capitalist economy afloat.

As long as the educational system can be somehow financed, it operates as hidden Keynesianism: a hidden form of transfer payments and pump-priming, the equivalent of New Deal make-work setting the unemployed to painting murals in post offices or planting trees in conservation camps, Educational expansion is virtually the only legitimately accepted form of Keynesian economic policy, because it is not overtly recognized as such. It expands under the banner of high technology and meritocracy—it is the technology that requires a more educated labor force. In a roundabout sense this is true: it is the technological displacement of labor that makes school a place of refuge from the shrinking job pool, although no one wants to recognize the fact. No matter—as long as the number of those displaced is shunted into an equal number of those expanding the population of students, the system will survive.

whoa

link this to "learn to code"-style policies & skills-biased technological change

—p.54 The End of Middle-Class Work: No More Escapes (37) by Randall Collins 1 year, 6 months ago
57

Another estimate of the timing of future capitalist crisis is provided by world-system (W-S) theory. In earlier writing on the capitalist world-system, Wallerstein and colleagues presented a theoretical model of systemic long cycles. The core regions of the W-S in their expansive phase generate their advantage by resources extracted under favorable conditions from the periphery. Hegemony is periodically threatened by conflicts within the core, and especially by semiperipheral zones rising to threaten the hegemon. Eventually the core gets caught up with, just as increasing competition in a new area of entrepreneurial profit brings down the profits once gained by the early innovator; in this respect, the W-S operates like Schumpeter's cycle of entrepreneurship, but on a global scale. With each new cycle, new opportunities for expansion and profit arise, under the leadership of a new hegemon. The crucial condition in the background, however, is that there must be an external area, outside the W-S, which can be incorporated and turned into the periphery of the system. Thus there is a final ending point to the W-S: when all the external areas have been penetrated. At this point the struggle for profit in the core and semiperiphery cannot be resolved by finding new economic regions to conquer. The W-S undergoes not just cyclical crisis but terminal transformation.

can the new economic region be virtual?

—p.57 The End of Middle-Class Work: No More Escapes (37) by Randall Collins 1 year, 6 months ago

Another estimate of the timing of future capitalist crisis is provided by world-system (W-S) theory. In earlier writing on the capitalist world-system, Wallerstein and colleagues presented a theoretical model of systemic long cycles. The core regions of the W-S in their expansive phase generate their advantage by resources extracted under favorable conditions from the periphery. Hegemony is periodically threatened by conflicts within the core, and especially by semiperipheral zones rising to threaten the hegemon. Eventually the core gets caught up with, just as increasing competition in a new area of entrepreneurial profit brings down the profits once gained by the early innovator; in this respect, the W-S operates like Schumpeter's cycle of entrepreneurship, but on a global scale. With each new cycle, new opportunities for expansion and profit arise, under the leadership of a new hegemon. The crucial condition in the background, however, is that there must be an external area, outside the W-S, which can be incorporated and turned into the periphery of the system. Thus there is a final ending point to the W-S: when all the external areas have been penetrated. At this point the struggle for profit in the core and semiperiphery cannot be resolved by finding new economic regions to conquer. The W-S undergoes not just cyclical crisis but terminal transformation.

can the new economic region be virtual?

—p.57 The End of Middle-Class Work: No More Escapes (37) by Randall Collins 1 year, 6 months ago
89

Moreover, new markets need not be restricted by geography. They can also be created by cultivating new needs. Capitalism has grown adept at persuading families that they need two cars, bigger and bigger houses, more and more electronic devices. Whoever dreamt of this fifty years ago? What will our grandchildren consume fifty years from now? We cannot begin to envisage their consumer fads, but we can be sure there will be some. Markets are not fixed by territory. Planet Earth can be filled and yet new markets can be created. That, of course, depends on what some have called the "technological fix" and it is more or less what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction," which he identified as being the core of capitalist dynamism—entrepreneurs pour money into technological innovation which results in the creation of new industries and the destruction of old ones. The Great Depression in the United States was partially caused by the stagnation of the major traditional industries, while the new emerging industries, though vibrant, were not yet big enough to absorb the surplus capital and labor of the period. That was achieved in World War II and the aftermath, which then suddenly released enormous consumer demand held back by wartime sacrifices.

So the vital question now is whether another technological fix is occurring, or is likely to soon occur. There are new dynamic industries like microelectronics and biotechnology. But the problem is that so far they have not been big enough to provide a satisfactory fix, especially for the labor market in the West, where the new industries tend to be more capital- than labor-intensive. The decline of manufacturing industry in much of the West has generated unemployment there which the newer industries have not been able to much reduce. Recent innovations like computers, the Internet and mobile communication devices do not compare with railroads, electrification and automobiles in their ability to generate profit and employment growth. The "Green Revolution" has been the recent exception, providing a great boon to agricultural production, mainly in the poorer countries Also important has been the expansion of the health and educational sectors, which are more labor intensive and in which the labor is more intellectual and more middle class. Their expansion is likely to continue, as the length of life, and especially of old age, and educational credentialism continue to increase.

—p.89 The End May Be Nigh, But For Whom? (71) by Michael Mann 1 year, 6 months ago

Moreover, new markets need not be restricted by geography. They can also be created by cultivating new needs. Capitalism has grown adept at persuading families that they need two cars, bigger and bigger houses, more and more electronic devices. Whoever dreamt of this fifty years ago? What will our grandchildren consume fifty years from now? We cannot begin to envisage their consumer fads, but we can be sure there will be some. Markets are not fixed by territory. Planet Earth can be filled and yet new markets can be created. That, of course, depends on what some have called the "technological fix" and it is more or less what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction," which he identified as being the core of capitalist dynamism—entrepreneurs pour money into technological innovation which results in the creation of new industries and the destruction of old ones. The Great Depression in the United States was partially caused by the stagnation of the major traditional industries, while the new emerging industries, though vibrant, were not yet big enough to absorb the surplus capital and labor of the period. That was achieved in World War II and the aftermath, which then suddenly released enormous consumer demand held back by wartime sacrifices.

So the vital question now is whether another technological fix is occurring, or is likely to soon occur. There are new dynamic industries like microelectronics and biotechnology. But the problem is that so far they have not been big enough to provide a satisfactory fix, especially for the labor market in the West, where the new industries tend to be more capital- than labor-intensive. The decline of manufacturing industry in much of the West has generated unemployment there which the newer industries have not been able to much reduce. Recent innovations like computers, the Internet and mobile communication devices do not compare with railroads, electrification and automobiles in their ability to generate profit and employment growth. The "Green Revolution" has been the recent exception, providing a great boon to agricultural production, mainly in the poorer countries Also important has been the expansion of the health and educational sectors, which are more labor intensive and in which the labor is more intellectual and more middle class. Their expansion is likely to continue, as the length of life, and especially of old age, and educational credentialism continue to increase.

—p.89 The End May Be Nigh, But For Whom? (71) by Michael Mann 1 year, 6 months ago
91

There is a further obstacle to revolutionary change. The communist and fascist revolutionary alternatives to capitalism were disasters, and they are the only ones to have emerged so far. There are no other alternatives around and almost no one wants to repeat either of those. Socialism, whether revolutionary or reformist, has never been weaker. Fundamentalist Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are the surging ideologies of the world and they tend to contemplate otherworldly as much as material salvation. This-worldly alternative ideologies of the 20th century failed. In poorer countries brought into the global economy we might expect the rise of socialist or similar movements, but they are likely to become reformist. Modern social revolutions have almost never occurred without major wars destabilizing and delegitirnizing ruling regimes. In the two biggest revolutions of the 20th century, in Russia and China, world wars (with different causes than capitalist crises) were necessary causes of revolution. Wars are thankfully in decline around the world—in fact only the United States continues to make inter-state wars—and there are no anticapitalist revolutionary movements of any size in the world. Revolution seems an unlikely scenario. The end really is nigh for revolutionary socialism.

The future of the left is likely to be at most reformist social democracy or liberalism. Employers and workers will continue to struggle over the mundane injustices of capitalist employment (factory safety, wages, benefits, job security, etc.), and their likely outcome will be compromise and reform. Developing countries will likely struggle for a reformed and more egalitarian capitalism just as Westerners did in the first half of the 20th century. Some will be more successful than others, as was the case in the West. China faces the severest problems now. The benefits of its phenomenal growth are very unequally distributed, generating major protest movements. Revolutionary turbulence is certainly possible there, but if successful it would likely bring in more capitalism and perhaps an imperfect democracy, as happened in Russia. America also faces severe challenges since its economy is overloaded with military and health spending, its polity is corrupted and dysfunctional, and the ideology of its conservatives has turned against science and social science. All this amid the inevitability of relative decline and the growing realization that American claims to a moral superiority over the rest of the world are hollow. This seems a recipe for further American decline.

shiet

—p.91 The End May Be Nigh, But For Whom? (71) by Michael Mann 1 year, 6 months ago

There is a further obstacle to revolutionary change. The communist and fascist revolutionary alternatives to capitalism were disasters, and they are the only ones to have emerged so far. There are no other alternatives around and almost no one wants to repeat either of those. Socialism, whether revolutionary or reformist, has never been weaker. Fundamentalist Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are the surging ideologies of the world and they tend to contemplate otherworldly as much as material salvation. This-worldly alternative ideologies of the 20th century failed. In poorer countries brought into the global economy we might expect the rise of socialist or similar movements, but they are likely to become reformist. Modern social revolutions have almost never occurred without major wars destabilizing and delegitirnizing ruling regimes. In the two biggest revolutions of the 20th century, in Russia and China, world wars (with different causes than capitalist crises) were necessary causes of revolution. Wars are thankfully in decline around the world—in fact only the United States continues to make inter-state wars—and there are no anticapitalist revolutionary movements of any size in the world. Revolution seems an unlikely scenario. The end really is nigh for revolutionary socialism.

The future of the left is likely to be at most reformist social democracy or liberalism. Employers and workers will continue to struggle over the mundane injustices of capitalist employment (factory safety, wages, benefits, job security, etc.), and their likely outcome will be compromise and reform. Developing countries will likely struggle for a reformed and more egalitarian capitalism just as Westerners did in the first half of the 20th century. Some will be more successful than others, as was the case in the West. China faces the severest problems now. The benefits of its phenomenal growth are very unequally distributed, generating major protest movements. Revolutionary turbulence is certainly possible there, but if successful it would likely bring in more capitalism and perhaps an imperfect democracy, as happened in Russia. America also faces severe challenges since its economy is overloaded with military and health spending, its polity is corrupted and dysfunctional, and the ideology of its conservatives has turned against science and social science. All this amid the inevitability of relative decline and the growing realization that American claims to a moral superiority over the rest of the world are hollow. This seems a recipe for further American decline.

shiet

—p.91 The End May Be Nigh, But For Whom? (71) by Michael Mann 1 year, 6 months ago
105

Nobody in 1917 considered the revolution in Russia unexpected. The Russian nobility had long been haunted by the specter of serf peasants revolting to avenge their near-slave condition. A modern proletarian revolution had been awaited ever since the European upheavals of 1848. This fear/hope was fed by strikes of industrial workers met with Cossack cavalry charges. No less significant was the growth of the famous modernist intelligentsia, the middle strata of educated specialists who felt stymied by the old aristocratic bureaucracy and the generalized backwardness of their country. The intelligentsia saw itself as the guiding force of epochal renovation. This sense of lofty mission translated into a spate of subversive strategies, from creating a world-class literature to volunteer charitable activism and throwing bombs at the oppressors.

Nevertheless, the empire kept on muddling through and even registered impressive industrial growth mainly because for almost half a century it had luckily avoided losing wars, a typical trigger of revolutions. The tipping points—as observed in many other revolutions—arrived with the costly and morally embarrassing military defeats in 1905 and again in 1917. The soldiers rebelled against their commanders while the police disintegrated. The collapse of state coercion released all the long-repressed specters of rebellion: furious peasant revolts in the countryside; the now armed worker militancy in big cities; the intelligentsia enthusiastically organizing a panoply of political parties and nationalist movements that soon became independent governments in the ethnically non-Russian provinces.

—p.105 What Communism Was (99) by Georgi Derluguian 1 year, 6 months ago

Nobody in 1917 considered the revolution in Russia unexpected. The Russian nobility had long been haunted by the specter of serf peasants revolting to avenge their near-slave condition. A modern proletarian revolution had been awaited ever since the European upheavals of 1848. This fear/hope was fed by strikes of industrial workers met with Cossack cavalry charges. No less significant was the growth of the famous modernist intelligentsia, the middle strata of educated specialists who felt stymied by the old aristocratic bureaucracy and the generalized backwardness of their country. The intelligentsia saw itself as the guiding force of epochal renovation. This sense of lofty mission translated into a spate of subversive strategies, from creating a world-class literature to volunteer charitable activism and throwing bombs at the oppressors.

Nevertheless, the empire kept on muddling through and even registered impressive industrial growth mainly because for almost half a century it had luckily avoided losing wars, a typical trigger of revolutions. The tipping points—as observed in many other revolutions—arrived with the costly and morally embarrassing military defeats in 1905 and again in 1917. The soldiers rebelled against their commanders while the police disintegrated. The collapse of state coercion released all the long-repressed specters of rebellion: furious peasant revolts in the countryside; the now armed worker militancy in big cities; the intelligentsia enthusiastically organizing a panoply of political parties and nationalist movements that soon became independent governments in the ethnically non-Russian provinces.

—p.105 What Communism Was (99) by Georgi Derluguian 1 year, 6 months ago
113

Immanuel Wallerstein had been long (and very controversially) comparing communist states to factories seized by a labor union during a strike.' If the workers try to operate the factory themselves, they inevitably have to follow the rules of capitalist markets. The workers might get a better distribution of material rewards, but not equality or democracy. The more "realist" among labor organizers would reimpose production discipline, compellingly citing external market pressures. The "Iron Law of Oligarchy" in complex organizations predicted that the narrow circle of those making managerial decisions would cut themselves of from the larger group and evolve into a new ruling elite. It might take time before ideological vapor entirely escaped from the cauldrons. Nevertheless the moment would come when the erstwhile organizers turned managers would no longer feel compelled to disguise the reality. The factory would then revert to being a normal capitalist enterprise, and the managers would cash in on their positions. If you wish, it is a sociological version of George Orwell's Animal Farm, but Wallerstein's analysis specified in a clear and logical fashion the structural conditions and causal sequences. He also added an important political caveat: socialism in one country or one factory may not last unless the whole capitalist world.system is replaced by a different historical system where capital accumulation is no longer the paramount priority.

this book is so good

(this theory was based on the real behaviour of Soviet leaders in as early as 1953)

—p.113 What Communism Was (99) by Georgi Derluguian 1 year, 6 months ago

Immanuel Wallerstein had been long (and very controversially) comparing communist states to factories seized by a labor union during a strike.' If the workers try to operate the factory themselves, they inevitably have to follow the rules of capitalist markets. The workers might get a better distribution of material rewards, but not equality or democracy. The more "realist" among labor organizers would reimpose production discipline, compellingly citing external market pressures. The "Iron Law of Oligarchy" in complex organizations predicted that the narrow circle of those making managerial decisions would cut themselves of from the larger group and evolve into a new ruling elite. It might take time before ideological vapor entirely escaped from the cauldrons. Nevertheless the moment would come when the erstwhile organizers turned managers would no longer feel compelled to disguise the reality. The factory would then revert to being a normal capitalist enterprise, and the managers would cash in on their positions. If you wish, it is a sociological version of George Orwell's Animal Farm, but Wallerstein's analysis specified in a clear and logical fashion the structural conditions and causal sequences. He also added an important political caveat: socialism in one country or one factory may not last unless the whole capitalist world.system is replaced by a different historical system where capital accumulation is no longer the paramount priority.

this book is so good

(this theory was based on the real behaviour of Soviet leaders in as early as 1953)

—p.113 What Communism Was (99) by Georgi Derluguian 1 year, 6 months ago