On the parasitic, omega-nary sector of the economy and the unavoidable backlash against this tumor
Socialism of the Soviet kind has brought stagnation and decline to my country and one-third of mankind, too. Things (I mostly mean the economy but not only the economy) weren't really getting better or at least the growth was much more sluggish than it was in the capitalist world. But nothing dramatic was happening. It was approximately true that the system simply stole the means of productions, structures, and know-how created by capitalism; and it was trying to maintain the economy and distribute its products and services according to the ideological criteria which were applied from the very beginning (and if there were a change as a function of time, the hardcore socialist rules were loosening after a few decades). It wasn't exciting; socialism was the ultimate example of boredom. Half a century of boredom. Also, some socialist countries including Czechoslovakia were extremely fiscally conservative and avoided any substantial debt.
The U.S. and other countries are still formally living in some kind of capitalism but things are changing. The new system is similar to the Soviet-style socialism in many ways but it may be more dramatic. Many pathologies are similar – such as the lack of competition (so far in some industries such as the Internet services), the political control over the economy (through regulation and often more directly) and the related nepotism, and the central or quasi-central indoctrination and intimidation of the populace which influences an increasing portion of the financial flows. But details are different. The commies effectively owned the means of production but (almost) none of them (some dictators were exceptions) was allowed to embrace truly luxurious lifestyles. These days, the counterparts of the communist elites may still be billionaires and live correspondingly.
In the previous paragraph, I mentioned that an increasing fraction of the financial flows are determined by the new government and quasi-government (including the Silicon Valley monopolies) and by the loosely centralized indoctrination and intimidation. A quantity is increasing here. Can we be pessimists and extrapolate these trends to some truly grim, and perhaps singular, outcome?
What are some pathologies that I am talking about? One of the prominent examples is the global warming alarmism, a pseudoscientific superstitious phobia that leads to the promotion of technologies, companies, and individuals that are "low in CO2", whether or not they are good in any old-fashioned way (e.g. profitable or preferred by the freely thinking consumers; and even good in the old-fashioned environmental sense) and the ideologues who promote this whole scheme (which may be even more harmful). For example, electric cars are subsidized so that their inferiority from the median consumer's viewpoint may be masked – and the subsidies are in principle so high that they may mask any degree of the inferiority.
The taxpayer pays for it and he is being brainwashed that this part of his gross income has to be directed towards the subsidies. (The electric cars are just an example; lots of increasingly indefensible subsidies are being paid from the taxpayer money and advocated by increasingly dumb and dishonest propaganda that increasingly resembles 1984 or Brawndo in Idiocracy.) These wrong processes may be concentrated. Tesla's stocks are arguably overpriced by a factor of 1,000 exactly because the company is unable to produce regular, profitable, usable cars – petrol cars. According to the normal capitalist rules of the economy, this would be a huge Tesla's disadvantage. The legacy carmakers may pay their electric car experiments from the normal petrol car profits. But we may have undergone a paradigm shift and the inability of Tesla to make a profit from the petrol cars is viewed as an advantage that is being rewarded by the cult and the opportunists who are producing the positive feedback because their behavior is equivalent to the cultists.
Of course, in the most optimistic scenario for the company, Tesla is centuries away from the ability to repay the debts and the current capitalization (a healthy company should be able to repay the debt in a few years if necessary). But in the new, neo-Marxist capitalism, it doesn't matter. It is really an advantage because the money is officially considered dirty. It is still good for Elon Musk who personally devours a greater amount of money than what his company may produce in the same period of time.
The Bitcoin hasn't reached $1 million by the end of 2020 so John McAfee owes us the performance of "eating his dick on live TV" (he remains at large). But the Bitcoin price is already totally disconnected from the policymakers' duties and is effectively located in the vicinity of infinity, \(\infty\pm \varepsilon\). There are surely thousands of totally worthless scumbags who became millionaires because they invested thousands of their parents' dollars into a Ponzi scheme early enough. Our society no longer arrests them for many years and it no longer encourages them to starve to death which it should. Instead, the central banks seem to be increasingly afraid of these new "elites", worthless aßholes from the parents' basements. Those are rich and increasingly numerous, right? So they carry an increasing political weight.
How is it possible that these scumbags could have bought expensive things while they have done nothing? Well, it's a Ponzi scheme. They sold the cryptocurrencies or Tesla stocks to greater loons. The earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to make a profit. The latecomers are funding this industry while hoping that they will be seen as the early adopters relatively to someone else who comes even later. Of course, it can't work forever because the Ponzi scheme ultimately runs out of the people. The later the policymakers kill the cryptocurrency criminal underground, the more dangerous and destabilizing the unavoidable collapse is going to be.
The Tesla cpaitalization plus cryptocurrencies are worth below $2 trillion and even if you add some analogous phenomena (there aren't many, I think), it is a small portion of the capital markets. But I think that there's no truly "physical constraint" that prevents this bogus part of the markets from going above 50% or even very close to 100% of the humans' overall portfolio. What will happen if the "one percent or so" will grow towards 100%? Is it possible?
Well, if there is no reaction, it is possible. The transfers may assign a majority – and perhaps an overwhelming one – of the world's useful production to bogus projects and financial sinks. A big part of the people's money may go to the expensive lifestyle of the CEOs like Tesla's even though those won't ever make a profit; another part will go to the mining of cryptocurrencies; Greta-like global warming charlatans will get another portion. A majority of the university's money will go to the diversity-inclusion-excrements (I forgot what E in DIE stands for). And all these majorities may become increasingly extreme.
An increasing part of mankind already benefits from the existence of all this stunning garbage. They will surely support the escalation of this "brave new world" by their votes for the representatives in the old-fashioned government (which may also be increasingly irrelevant because the new, de facto, Silicon-Valley-like parallel government is arguably getting more important than the de iure government). Another group of humans are taxpayers who produce genuine values and who are being robbed but they have been brainwashed by the increasingly costly propaganda machine (which is paid from their money, too). And the group of taxpayers who are contributing real things, who are being robbed, and who realize what is going on may very well be a minority and lose all the elections. Is it possible?
I think that it is possible. In fact, the West may already be there – and it may have entered a vicious circle which will make all these things increasingly bad (because the increasingly rich and influential idiots and aßholes are increasingly hard to be wrestled with). It has been a fact for a very long time that just one or two percent of nations is enough to provide everyone with enough food. Of course I don't suggest that agriculture and the food industry is the only "real economy". Aside from the primary sector, there has been a secondary sector, tertiary sector, and other sectors of the economy for a long enough time. But something is fundamentally different today because the new parasitic "elites" aren't in the primary, secondary, or tertiary sectors. They are not even in the quaternary sector and many of them aren't in the quinary one, either. OK, I don't want to pretend that I can count beyond 5. What I want to say is that these parasites really live in the omega-nary sector of the economy where omega (\(\omega\)) is the ordinal number counting the number of integers. The trouble with \(\omega\) is that you can't get to it from the finite integers by the usual induction.
In plain English, the individuals sucking the money and advantages from the real or de facto government of the brave new world are a tumor that is no longer serving the really useful people in the primary (and finite order) sectors, not even very indirectly. They are a new tumor within the human society that is eating everything that has belonged to those who aren't a part of the tumor. And the tumor is growing from the "opposite side". It is this decoupling that makes the ongoing trends different from – and much more pernicious than – the old-fashioned growth of the secondary, tertiary, and other derived economies.
The industrial revolution has allowed the agriculture and the whole primary sector to shrink and involve just a small percentage of the working people. But the rise of the omega-nary sector means that even the union of all the "finite order sectors" may be shrunk to a minority (and perhaps a tiny minority) of mankind while the rest is a hierarchical pyramid of totally useless parasites, some of whom will be (or are) the new "elites".
OK, so imagine a world where 30% or perhaps even 1% of the people do something that has any value; and the rest owns them and can take anything from them (due to the government and the distortion of the market). The designer of the cutting-edge gadgets will be (and maybe already is) getting 10% or 1% of the salary of a diversity-inclusion-excrement apparatchik at a high school. Can we get there? Can it be sustained? Well, it can. The government and the de facto government, along with the propaganda machine, may make sure that the designers won't be able to defend themselves. The distortion of the market may become almost arbitrarily extreme. You might say that the ratio of the DIE apparatchik's and engineer's income isn't determined by the free market because they're doing incommensurable things. Well, in a healthy free market society, such ratios still are determined by the market because industries compete against each other, too. But you can't really compete against the omega-nary tumor.
These things may be real, very bad, and getting worse. But I believe that the civilization won't really get to this idealized dystopia. Why? First, the propaganda becomes a waste of money when the lies become too extreme and self-evident, I still believe (although the insanities that are believed by a majority of the people already are rather extreme). On top of that, the siege of the U.S. Congress (and the statehouses in most states) last night may show us what will happen. At the end, the people who are being robbed and who don't belong to the parasitic tumor (the omega-nary sector of the economy) will rise and physically remove the tumor from their lives. I think that the omega-nary sector is so abstract and detached from the "real life" that it won't be able to keep rather ordinary things under control and the finite-order sectors will win their battle against cancer.
Alternatively, the finite-order people won't revolt but the omega-nary tumor makes a mistake and kills the finite-order productive sectors which are actually needed for the omega-nary survival, too. And everyone will happily die. There's clearly one unrealistic feature of my whole scenario: the decoupling can't ever be perfect so my omega-nary dystopia is always at most an idealization. At the end, people interact with each other and depend on each other and they're never quite qualitatively different from each other. That's why some boring, non-singular decline of the civilization is what will actually happen and my omega-nary patterns are just a theoretical construct to make the misery look juicier.