I’ll start by drawing what I take to be Nick Land’s view on the complete circuit of acceleration. then I’ll take a look at the leeches – decelerators – that he proposes. then I’ll sketch my own view of the necessity of runaway “suppressors” to keep the positive feedback running. in the meanwhile I’ll try and speculate what exactly l/acc and r/acc can mean in this view.
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Land posits a positive feedback cycle at the heart of modernity. this cycle, he insists, is a techno-commercial or techonomic one. the second part of this loop is already pretty well expressed in Marx’s M-C-M’ model. From Fine & Saad-Filho’s Marx’s Capital:
I’ll simplify this to:
similarly, Land proposes technology and science evolve in a similar cycle, a techno-scientific effort. as he puts it:
“Acquiring knowledge and using tools is a single dynamic circuit, producing techno-science as an integral system, without real divisibility into theoretical and practical aspects. Science develops in loops, through experimental technique and the production of ever more sophisticated instrumentation, whilst embedded within a broader industrial process. Its advance is the improvement of a machine.”
finally, the techno-commercial loop that characterizes modernity would be this:
below the levels here portrayed, it’s conceivable every node is, in itself, a positive feedback loop. finance capital, product design, gadget invention and theory building being the immediate sub-levels.
the more it happens, the more it happens.
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I won’t lie, I’m no great connoisseur of left-accelerationist thought. so I won’t talk a lot about it. my point of contention comes mostly from this line in the MAP:
“capitalism cannot be identified as the agent of true acceleration”
which implies something else is the true accelerator. what could that something else be?
I’ve heard hinted now and then that it could be the “industrial cycle” of technological development. since I’m guessing l/acc types want to pose capital as, at most, a once sympathetic medium for acceleration (now utterly decelerative), I’m supposing that such “agent of true acceleration” is the science cycle pictured above. is that correct? I’ll suspend criticism until this is more thoroughly established.
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as for “right acceleratism”, insofar as it can’t be identified with Land’s stance of “unconditional acceleration“, remains very poorly formalized or even addressed. some kind of transhumanist monarchism maybe? if that’s it, their interest is much more on the acceleration of the science cycle, as well, but with a subordination to very different norms than those that presumably would govern l/acc-type cycles. insofar as it isn’t an explicitly anti-capitalist monarchism we’re talking about, the commercial side of the cycle is still present, but with how much force?
lots of mysteries remain. but I won’t invent adversaries where none appears to be.
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ok, enough for accelerators, why aren’t we seeing a techno-commercial singularity, if such dynamics is indeed at the heart of out times? Land proposes a decelerator. what would it amount to?
a few ways to break the cycles and compensate for them:
- taxation: this deviates resources from capital and buries them into the consumption of the tax-receivers (namely the Cathedral bureaucracy). trash and shit.
- regulation: there are various ways this could work, insofar as regulation is very inventive. but the main pattern has to do with deviating capital from the most rentable (i.e., (self-re)productive) investments, into those that are most likely to become un-recyclable thrash, at least in the long run.
- politicization: this deviates brain-power from technological producing theories into, well, bullshit research departments, especially through politicization of academic funding of hard sciences.
- protectionism: since this protects technical developments from properly feeding back into the commercial cycle, it breaks the link between technical advantage and capital accumulation, leading lots of resources into stupid gadgetry.
all these being forms of fucking up the incentive structures that allow the accelerative cycle to be. in diagram form:
if the Cathedral is actually efficient, the more it happens, the less it happens.
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my theory of constitutionalism is based mostly on the premise that, given real conditions, capital needs not only to accelerate – as is intrinsic to it – but also to suppress its decelerators. constitutional orders are a good way to tame politics (and thus the Cathedral), and there’s a historical case to be made on how capitalism correlates to good constitutions.
here, I’ll limit myself to the abstract form of these “runaway suppressors”. they are complimentary to the runaway producer of techno-commercialism: the less it happens, the less it happens. in such a way that they intrinsically contain a program for their own dissolution: as soon as their object of suppression vanishes – thus liberating the productive process that engineered them – they themselves vanish. it’s friction that produces them.
suppression, in such analysis, means compensating the compensators. a few forms for that to happen:
- counter-taxation: mechanisms through which taxation is dodged or reversed (anything from tax dodging, money laundering, corporate welfare, etc).
- illegibility: ways through which agents become invisible to the state apparatus, and thus can operate beyond, behind or beneath its regulations.
- cypherpolitics: becoming grey to the colorful politics, effectively avoiding social outcomes based on political discourse. cryptographic media use, in a way that allows science to become neutral because anonymous. also, other uses of unidentity. (seriously, the link explains way better)
- exit: if some idiot thinks tariffs are a good idea, you move. neo-nomadism should be a thing already.
as resources flow back into the cycle, acceleration happens at ever higher rates. the formalization of said mechanisms into a diagram of suppression applied to the decelerator is a feat for another post, though.