Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Underpants Gnomes Phase 4

Capitalism has for its several centuries-long history promoted the so-called “interests” of the individual as supreme. It is not really the general individual that the system has in mind, though, so much as the entrepreneur who, given complete lack of restraint, is assumed to be able to produce goods and services beneficial to society, and can do so only with the freedom to ignore non-market values and the possibility that this kind of individualism — which can be called hyper-individualism — will magically yield freedom and justice for all. 
 Indeed, at the heart of the standard capitalist narrative is magic, as if the will to realize the abstract ideal of a cornucopia for all will itself — through fervent wishing and belief that can only be called religious — bring about the imagined state. It is the “invisible hand” idea from Adam Smith — the conviction that there really is a hidden force that given free rein sets everything aright. It is the God meme in capitalism and its writings, Smith’s among them, that is to capitalism what the Torah is to Judaism, the Gospels to Christianity, and the Koran to Islam: holy texts whose authenticity and reality must not be challenged or questioned unless as an adolescent moment of doubt, eventually subsumed by the re-embrace of total belief.
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