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).

1

Capitalism has always been an improbable social formation, full of conflicts and contradictions, therefore permanently unstable and in flux, and highly conditional on historically contingent and precarious supportive as well as constraining events and institutions. [...] Capitalism promises infinite growth of commodified material wealth in a finite world, by conjoining itself with modern science and technology, making capitalist society the first industrial society, and through unending expansion of free, in the sense of contestable, risky markets, on the coat-tails of a hegemonic carrier state and its market-opening policies both domestically and internationally. As a version of industrial society, capitalist society is distinguished by the fact that its collective productive capital is accumulated in the hands of a minority of its members who enjoy the legal privilege, in the form of rights of private property, to dispose of such capital in any way they see fit, including letting it sit idle or transferring it abroad. One implication of this is that the vast majority of the members of a capitalist society must work under the direction, however mediated, of the private owners of the tools they need to provide for themselves, and on terms set by those owners in line with their desire to maximize the rate of increase of their capital. Motivating non-owners to do so – to work hard and diligently in the interest of the owners – requires artful devices – sticks and carrots of the most diverse sorts that are never certain to function – that have to be continuously reinvented as capitalist progress continuously renders them obsolescent.

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Capitalism has always been an improbable social formation, full of conflicts and contradictions, therefore permanently unstable and in flux, and highly conditional on historically contingent and precarious supportive as well as constraining events and institutions. [...] Capitalism promises infinite growth of commodified material wealth in a finite world, by conjoining itself with modern science and technology, making capitalist society the first industrial society, and through unending expansion of free, in the sense of contestable, risky markets, on the coat-tails of a hegemonic carrier state and its market-opening policies both domestically and internationally. As a version of industrial society, capitalist society is distinguished by the fact that its collective productive capital is accumulated in the hands of a minority of its members who enjoy the legal privilege, in the form of rights of private property, to dispose of such capital in any way they see fit, including letting it sit idle or transferring it abroad. One implication of this is that the vast majority of the members of a capitalist society must work under the direction, however mediated, of the private owners of the tools they need to provide for themselves, and on terms set by those owners in line with their desire to maximize the rate of increase of their capital. Motivating non-owners to do so – to work hard and diligently in the interest of the owners – requires artful devices – sticks and carrots of the most diverse sorts that are never certain to function – that have to be continuously reinvented as capitalist progress continuously renders them obsolescent.

—p.1 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
2

[...] for the vast majority of its members, a capitalist society must manage to convert their ever-present fear of being cut out of the productive process, because of economic or technological restructuring, into acceptance of the highly unequal distribution of wealth and power generated by the capitalist economy and a belief in the legitimacy of capitalism as a social order. For this, highly complicated and inevitably fragile institutional and ideological provisions are necessary. The same holds true for the conversion of insecure workers – kept insecure to make them obedient workers – into confident consumers happily discharging their consumerist social obligations even in the face of the fundamental uncertainty of labour markets and employment [...]

he goes on to state that early theories of capitalism were also theories of crisis (Ricardo, Mill, Sombart, Keynes, Hilferding, Polanyi, Schumpeter, who all thought capitalism would end imminently)

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] for the vast majority of its members, a capitalist society must manage to convert their ever-present fear of being cut out of the productive process, because of economic or technological restructuring, into acceptance of the highly unequal distribution of wealth and power generated by the capitalist economy and a belief in the legitimacy of capitalism as a social order. For this, highly complicated and inevitably fragile institutional and ideological provisions are necessary. The same holds true for the conversion of insecure workers – kept insecure to make them obedient workers – into confident consumers happily discharging their consumerist social obligations even in the face of the fundamental uncertainty of labour markets and employment [...]

he goes on to state that early theories of capitalism were also theories of crisis (Ricardo, Mill, Sombart, Keynes, Hilferding, Polanyi, Schumpeter, who all thought capitalism would end imminently)

—p.2 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
10

[...] Following in Marx’s footsteps, he lists five ‘escapes’ that have hitherto saved capitalism from self-destruction, and then proceeds to show why they won’t save it any more. They include the growth of new jobs and entire sectors compensating for employment losses caused by technological progress (employment in artificial intelligence will be miniscule, especially once robots begin to design and build other robots); the expansion of markets (which this time will primarily be labour markets in middle-class occupations, globally unified by information technology, enabling global competition among educated job seekers); the growth of finance, both as a source of income (‘speculation’) and as an industry (which cannot possibly balance the loss of employment caused by new technology, and of income caused by unemployment, also because computerization will make workers in large segments of the financial industry redundant); government employment replacing employment in the private sector (improbable because of the fiscal crisis of the state, and in any case requiring ultimately ‘a revolutionary overturn of the property system’ [p. 51]); and the use of education as a buffer to keep labour out of employment, making it a form of ‘hidden Keynesianism’ while resulting in ‘credential inflation’ and ‘grade inflation’ (which for Collins is the path most probably taken, although ultimately it will prove equally futile as the others, as a result of demoralization within educational institutions and problems of financing, both public and private).

referring to section 277

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] Following in Marx’s footsteps, he lists five ‘escapes’ that have hitherto saved capitalism from self-destruction, and then proceeds to show why they won’t save it any more. They include the growth of new jobs and entire sectors compensating for employment losses caused by technological progress (employment in artificial intelligence will be miniscule, especially once robots begin to design and build other robots); the expansion of markets (which this time will primarily be labour markets in middle-class occupations, globally unified by information technology, enabling global competition among educated job seekers); the growth of finance, both as a source of income (‘speculation’) and as an industry (which cannot possibly balance the loss of employment caused by new technology, and of income caused by unemployment, also because computerization will make workers in large segments of the financial industry redundant); government employment replacing employment in the private sector (improbable because of the fiscal crisis of the state, and in any case requiring ultimately ‘a revolutionary overturn of the property system’ [p. 51]); and the use of education as a buffer to keep labour out of employment, making it a form of ‘hidden Keynesianism’ while resulting in ‘credential inflation’ and ‘grade inflation’ (which for Collins is the path most probably taken, although ultimately it will prove equally futile as the others, as a result of demoralization within educational institutions and problems of financing, both public and private).

referring to section 277

—p.10 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
13

For the decline of capitalism to continue, that is to say, no revolutionary alternative is required, and certainly no masterplan of a better society displacing capitalism. Contemporary capitalism is vanishing on its own, collapsing from internal contradictions, and not least as a result of having vanquished its enemies – who, as noted, have often rescued capitalism from itself by forcing it to assume a new form. What comes after capitalism in its final crisis, now under way, is, I suggest, not socialism or some other defined social order, but a lasting interregnum – no new world system equilibrium à la Wallerstein, but a prolonged period of social entropy, or disorder (and precisely for this reason a period of uncertainty and indeterminacy).

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

For the decline of capitalism to continue, that is to say, no revolutionary alternative is required, and certainly no masterplan of a better society displacing capitalism. Contemporary capitalism is vanishing on its own, collapsing from internal contradictions, and not least as a result of having vanquished its enemies – who, as noted, have often rescued capitalism from itself by forcing it to assume a new form. What comes after capitalism in its final crisis, now under way, is, I suggest, not socialism or some other defined social order, but a lasting interregnum – no new world system equilibrium à la Wallerstein, but a prolonged period of social entropy, or disorder (and precisely for this reason a period of uncertainty and indeterminacy).

—p.13 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
22

[...] As capital and capitalist markets began to outgrow national borders, with the help of international trade agreements and assisted by new transportation and communication technologies, the power of labour, inevitably locally based, weakened, and capital was able to press for a shift to a new growth model, one that works by redistributing from the bottom to the top. This was when the march into neoliberalism began, as a rebellion of capital against Keynesianism, with the aim of enthroning the Hayekian model in its place. Thus the threat of unemployment returned, together with its reality, gradually replacing political legitimacy with economic discipline. Lower growth rates were acceptable for the new powers as long as they were compensated by higher profit rates and an increasingly inegalitarian distribution. Democracy ceased to be functional for economic growth and in fact became a threat to the performance of the new growth model; it therefore had to be decoupled from the political economy. This was when ‘post-democracy’ was born.

cites Colin Crouch's Post-Democracy

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] As capital and capitalist markets began to outgrow national borders, with the help of international trade agreements and assisted by new transportation and communication technologies, the power of labour, inevitably locally based, weakened, and capital was able to press for a shift to a new growth model, one that works by redistributing from the bottom to the top. This was when the march into neoliberalism began, as a rebellion of capital against Keynesianism, with the aim of enthroning the Hayekian model in its place. Thus the threat of unemployment returned, together with its reality, gradually replacing political legitimacy with economic discipline. Lower growth rates were acceptable for the new powers as long as they were compensated by higher profit rates and an increasingly inegalitarian distribution. Democracy ceased to be functional for economic growth and in fact became a threat to the performance of the new growth model; it therefore had to be decoupled from the political economy. This was when ‘post-democracy’ was born.

cites Colin Crouch's Post-Democracy

—p.22 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
24

[...] Whereas the rights of the state people are grounded in national political status, or citizenship, the market people of international finance derive their claim on public policy from commercial contracts, which in an encompassing global market, where lenders have alternatives, tend to take precedence. By providing its customers with liquidity, the financial industry establishes control over them, as is the very nature of credit. Financialization turns the financial sector into an international private government disciplining national political communities and their public governments, without being in any way democratically accountable. [...]

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] Whereas the rights of the state people are grounded in national political status, or citizenship, the market people of international finance derive their claim on public policy from commercial contracts, which in an encompassing global market, where lenders have alternatives, tend to take precedence. By providing its customers with liquidity, the financial industry establishes control over them, as is the very nature of credit. Financialization turns the financial sector into an international private government disciplining national political communities and their public governments, without being in any way democratically accountable. [...]

—p.24 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
25

Marx was aware that one reason why British workers were able to get the Factory Act passed was that employers themselves were concerned about the ongoing destruction of labour in the ‘satanic mills’ of their factories. Exposed to competition, however, and only weakly organized, they could not act on what they knew should have been their rational interest [...]

footnote 35

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Marx was aware that one reason why British workers were able to get the Factory Act passed was that employers themselves were concerned about the ongoing destruction of labour in the ‘satanic mills’ of their factories. Exposed to competition, however, and only weakly organized, they could not act on what they knew should have been their rational interest [...]

footnote 35

—p.25 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
45

Summing up, social life and capital accumulation in the post-capitalist interregnum depend on individuals-as-consumers adhering to a culture of competitive hedonism, one that makes a virtue out of the necessity of having to struggle with adversity and uncertainty on one’s own. For capital accumulation to continue under post-capitalism, that culture must make hoping and dreaming obligatory, mobilizing hopes and dreams to sustain production and fuel consumption in spite of low growth, rising inequality and growing indebtedness. It must also provide technical assistance enabling people to keep themselves unreasonably happy, while at the same time producing a stream of incentives and satisfactions motivating them to constantly intensify their work effort regardless of stagnant or declining pay, unpaid overtime and precarious employment. Capitalism without system integration requires a labour market and labour process capable of sustaining a neo-Protestant work ethic alongside socially obligatory hedonistic consumerism. Enthusiastic hard work must be culturally defined and recognized as test and proof of individual value, corresponding to a meritocratic worldview that explains inequality with differences in effort or ability. For hedonism not to undermine productive discipline, as none less than Daniel Bell was confident would happen, the attractions of consumerism must be complemented with a fear of social descent, while non-consumerist gratifications available outside of the money economy must be discounted and discredited. All of this presupposes the presence of a broad middle class willing to seek social integration through the labour market, accepting as a matter of course expectations of employers for full identification with whatever jobs they may be assigned and taking for granted the need for social life to respect the primacy of dedicated work and the pursuit of, it is hoped, life-structuring careers.

yo

Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Summing up, social life and capital accumulation in the post-capitalist interregnum depend on individuals-as-consumers adhering to a culture of competitive hedonism, one that makes a virtue out of the necessity of having to struggle with adversity and uncertainty on one’s own. For capital accumulation to continue under post-capitalism, that culture must make hoping and dreaming obligatory, mobilizing hopes and dreams to sustain production and fuel consumption in spite of low growth, rising inequality and growing indebtedness. It must also provide technical assistance enabling people to keep themselves unreasonably happy, while at the same time producing a stream of incentives and satisfactions motivating them to constantly intensify their work effort regardless of stagnant or declining pay, unpaid overtime and precarious employment. Capitalism without system integration requires a labour market and labour process capable of sustaining a neo-Protestant work ethic alongside socially obligatory hedonistic consumerism. Enthusiastic hard work must be culturally defined and recognized as test and proof of individual value, corresponding to a meritocratic worldview that explains inequality with differences in effort or ability. For hedonism not to undermine productive discipline, as none less than Daniel Bell was confident would happen, the attractions of consumerism must be complemented with a fear of social descent, while non-consumerist gratifications available outside of the money economy must be discounted and discredited. All of this presupposes the presence of a broad middle class willing to seek social integration through the labour market, accepting as a matter of course expectations of employers for full identification with whatever jobs they may be assigned and taking for granted the need for social life to respect the primacy of dedicated work and the pursuit of, it is hoped, life-structuring careers.

yo

—p.45 Introduction (1) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
52

[...] Egalitarian democracy, regarded under Keynesianism as economically productive, is considered a drag on efficiency under contemporary Hayekianism, where growth is to derive from insulation of markets – and of the cumulative advantage they entail – against redistributive political distortions.

How Will Capitalism End? (47) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] Egalitarian democracy, regarded under Keynesianism as economically productive, is considered a drag on efficiency under contemporary Hayekianism, where growth is to derive from insulation of markets – and of the cumulative advantage they entail – against redistributive political distortions.

—p.52 How Will Capitalism End? (47) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago
53

[...] What the deterioration of public finances was related to was declining overall levels of taxation (Figure 1.5) and the increasingly regressive character of tax systems, as a result of ‘reforms’ of top income and corporate tax rates (Figure 1.6). Moreover, by replacing tax revenue with debt, governments contributed further to inequality, in that they offered secure investment opportunities to those whose money they would or could no longer confiscate and had to borrow instead. Unlike taxpayers, buyers of government bonds continue to own what they pay to the state, and in fact collect interest on it, typically paid out of ever less progressive taxation; they can also pass it on to their children. Moreover, rising public debt can be and is being utilized politically to argue for cutbacks in state spending and for privatization of public services, further constraining redistributive democratic intervention in the capitalist economy.

shiet

How Will Capitalism End? (47) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] What the deterioration of public finances was related to was declining overall levels of taxation (Figure 1.5) and the increasingly regressive character of tax systems, as a result of ‘reforms’ of top income and corporate tax rates (Figure 1.6). Moreover, by replacing tax revenue with debt, governments contributed further to inequality, in that they offered secure investment opportunities to those whose money they would or could no longer confiscate and had to borrow instead. Unlike taxpayers, buyers of government bonds continue to own what they pay to the state, and in fact collect interest on it, typically paid out of ever less progressive taxation; they can also pass it on to their children. Moreover, rising public debt can be and is being utilized politically to argue for cutbacks in state spending and for privatization of public services, further constraining redistributive democratic intervention in the capitalist economy.

shiet

—p.53 How Will Capitalism End? (47) default author 4 months, 3 weeks ago