Similarly, capitalism is the worst form of managing the means of production, except for yet worse ways. We should treat it as such rather than turning it into the Blue State secular religion, alongside yoga and John Oliver.
What's my big beef with capitalism? That it desacralizes everything, robs the world of wonder, and leaves it as nothing more than a vulgar market. The fastest way to cheapen anything--be it a woman, a favor, or a work of art--is to put a price tag on it. And that's what capitalism is, a busy greengorcer going through his store with a price-sticker machine--ka-CHUNK! ka-CHUNK!--$4.10 for eggs, $5 for coffee at Sightglass, $5,000 per month for a run-down one-bedroom in the Mission.
Stop and think for a moment what this whole IPO ritual was about. For the first time, Facebook shares would have a public price. For all the pageantry and cheering, this was Mr. Market coming along with his price-sticker machine and--ka-CHUNK!--putting one on Facebook for $38 a share. And everyone was ecstatic about it. It was one of the highlights of the technology industry, and one of the "once in a lifetime" moments of our age. In pre-postmodern times, only a divine ritual of ancient origin, victory in war, or the direct experience of meaningful culture via shared songs, dances or art would cause anybody such revelry. Now we're driven to ecstasies of delirium because we have a price tag, and our life's labors are validated by the fact it does. That's the smoldering ambition of every entrepreneur: to one day create an organization that society deems worthy of a price tag.
These are the only real values we have left in the twilight of history, the tired dead end of liberal democratic capitalism, at least here in the California fringes of Western civilization. Clap at the clever people getting rich, and hope you're among them.
Is it a wonder that the inhabitants of such a world clamor for contrived rituals of artificial significance like Burning Man, given the utter bankruptcy of meaning in their corporatized culture? Should we be surprised that they cling to identities, clusters of consumption patterns, that seem lifted from the ads-targeting system at Facebook: "hipster millennials," "urban mommies," "affluent suburbanites"?
Ortega y Gasset wrote: "Men play at tragedy because they do not believe in the reality of the tragedy whcih is actually being staged in the civilized world."
the balance between this passage and the rest of the book (and what it reveals about his mindset and lifestyle) is striking - of course no one can truly reconcile living in a capitalist world with anti-capitalist beliefs, but with this guy it just feels really out of balance
also the use of the word "cheapen" here is interesting; can't tell if it's intentional or not