A Huge Honking Mess of Should-Reads, of All Kinds

Comment of the Day: Graydon: Understanding Karl Marx: "The thing -- well, a thing, and I think an important thing still generally missed -- Marx missed was the metallic cartridge. From ~1860 through 1914, the decisive aspect of your military campaign was 'how many riflemen, how well fed, and how well trained?'...

...After that it was "how many artillery shells (and all necessary accouterments) can your industry produce?" from 1915 through about 1960.

In both cases, you need voluntary mass mobilization for your nation-state to survive. You have to change your society to get it; you have to do whatever it takes to make capitalism behave, because if you don't, you lose, and losing wars stopped being recoverable around then, too. The oligarchy was very clear it couldn't hope to survive losing.

Sometime around 1970, voluntary mass mobilization stopped being important. The constraints on capitalism start to fail around 1980. There's absolutely no sign there's anything out there that's going to function as a means to put them back. (Certainly not in time!)

Remember that morals have nothing to do with anything; it's "how well does this get copies of itself into the future?", and naked capitalism -- all the surplus is mine! -- is simple, readily produces fanatical adherents, and produces a world view in which no act resulting in the permanent possession of money is or can be wrong. (To the point where we're seeing a successful push to transform the nation state's role into that of a guarantor of currency and nothing else.) It's extraordinarily good at getting copies into the future.

Marx was wrong about a whole lot and hopelessly tangled up in an essentially creationist worldview and magical expectations, but capitalism being inherently and inescapably bad was not one of Marx's mistakes...